Leicestershire 325 for 7 (Dexter 102*, Cosgrove 74, Leach 3-65) v Worcestershire
Promotion-chasing Worcestershire met strong resistance from bottom placed Leicestershire as skipper Mark Cosgrove and centurion Neil Dexter shepherded the visitors to three batting points on the opening day of the Specsavers County Championship match at New Road.
Dexter’s century was quite a turn-up after a season in which he had not reached 50 and averaged only 14.
Worcestershire were brimming with confidence after an eight wicket win over leaders Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge and initially continued in the same vein after Leicestershire opted to bat and were reduced to 25 for 3.
But it was an uphill struggle for second placed Worcestershire after that against a side without a Championship win so far this summer.
Cosgrove completed 1,000 Championship runs for his third successive season since joining Leicestershire and was well supported by Aadil Ali in a century partnership.
Then Dexter and Lewis Hill put together another hundred stand for the resolute Foxes who closed on 325 for 7 after 93 overs when bad light intervened.
Joe Leach picked up three wickets and there were two apiece for Josh Tongue and Ed Barnard but it was a challenging day for Indian star Ravichandran Ashwin.
He had a couple of early lbw shouts rejected but only the very occasional ball turned and he finished the day with 0 for 99 from 29 overs.
Tongue made the first breakthrough as on loan Hampshire opener Michael Carberry nicked through to keeper Ben Cox. Ned Eckersley, who is playing the 100th first-class match of his career, was promoted to open for the first time this season but made only 12 before edging Leach to Daryl Mitchell at second slip.
Barnard then broke through in his first over as Colin Ackerman had his stumps spread-eagled to secure a bowling bonus point for Worcestershire inside 14 overs. But from that high point, the home side experienced a frustrating time as Leicestershire fought back in impressive fashion.
Cosgrove completed his 1,000 Championship runs for the season when on 43 – the third player in Division Two to reach four figures after Worcestershire opener Daryl Mitchell and veteran Durham all-rounder Paul Collingwood.
The 33-year-old was given excellent support by Ali – in only his second Championship appearance of the season – during a stand of 104 in 30 overs for the fourth wicket.
The pair counter-attacked to good effect before Ali, on 40, was trapped lbw on the back foot by Leach – his 60th Championship wicket of another productive summer.
It became 172 for 5 when Cosgrove, after making 74 from 123 balls with eight fours, skied a Barnard delivery to Joe Clarke at square leg.
But further spirited resistance came from Dexter and Hill during a partnership of exactly 100 in 28 overs. Dexter was full of aggressive intent from the start and posted a run a ball half century with nine fours and a six over midwicket off paceman Pat Brown.
The second new ball accounted for Hill who was leg before to Tongue and Raine who was bowled by Leach. Dexter had time to reach three figures off 120 balls with 18 fours and a six and was unbeaten on 102 before bad light intervened
Source: ESPN Crickinfo