Quick wickets for Josh Davey put Leicestershire in box seat at Worcestershire

Worcestershire 83 (Wright 5-32, Davey 3-26) and 26 for 2 (Haynes 17*, Davey 2-19) need 245 runs to beat Leicestershire 173 and 180 (Hill 49, Leach 5-41, Waite 4-21)

Leicestershire picked up two early wickets after setting Worcestershire a challenging 271 target on a still-bowler friendly pitch on day two of the LV=Insurance County Championship match at New Road.

Loan signing Josh Davey from Somerset made the double breakthrough in dismissing openers Azhar Ali – for a pair – and Ed Pollock in his first over.

Gareth Roderick and Jack Haynes managed to survive to the close at 26 for 2 but the untrustworthy nature of the pitch means the Foxes will be favourites tomorrow to complete a second win of the campaign.

Leicestershire had earlier been bowled out for 180 after Joe Leach‘s impressive five-wicket return and Matthew Waite‘s Championship-best figures of 4 for 21.

It was the 16th five-for of Leach’s distinguished career and Waite eclipsed his previous best of 4 for 35 in the corresponding fixture last season.

Captain Lewis Hill’s patient 49 was largely responsible for the visitors being able to set a daunting target on a wicket of uneven bounce.

After the dramas of day one, when 22 wickets fell, the game proceeded at a more sedate pace for the first half of the day as Leicestershire looked to capitalise on their first-innings lead of 90.

There were two nightwatchers occupying the crease when play resumed – but both soon fell to Leach.

Davey could only help a delivery which bounced on him to Pollock at first slip and Will Davis went lbw working to leg.

There was more joy for Leach when Colin Ackerman fenced at a delivery outside the off stump and Pollock did the rest.

Leach’s morning spell brought the excellent figures of 7-4-15-3 but then Hill and Peter Handscomb entrenched themselves during a partnership of 71 in 30 overs.

The pair batted sensibly and took few risks in ensuring Leicestershire built a substantial lead on a pitch where the occasional ball still misbehaved.

Handscomb, on 11, had to survive a delivery from Adam Finch which spat up off a length and flew onto the off side and then a confident appeal for lbw from Waite to the last ball before lunch.

Play progressed at a serene pace but then Waite instigated a collapse which saw five wickets tumble for 20 runs.

His first over back into the attack brought about the downfall of Hill, one short of a deserved half-century, when he inside edged onto his stumps.

Waite then struck three times in an over and ended the resistance of Handscomb who battled away for 26 off 98 balls but then aimed a blow on the leg side and was caught off a leading edge by Brett D’Oliveira running back to deep mid off.

Wiaan Mulder attempted to force Waite off the back foot and was taken at second slip by Haynes who then pulled off a fine low one-handed effort to the next delivery to dismiss Tom Scriven.

Leach wrapped up the innings when Rehan Ahmed went for a big blow and was stumped.

Worcestershire needed a solid start if they were to harbour realistic ambitions of chasing down their target but Azhar and Pollock quickly perished to undistinguished shots against Davey.

Azhar completed a pair when he took a stride forward, tried to work the ball through midwicket and instead edged low to first slip. Pollock also aimed a blow on the leg side but instead the ball lobbed a gentle catch to cover at 2 for 2.

Roderick and Haynes got their heads down but there were signs of the heavy roller wearing off and batting becoming more difficult before the premature close due to bad light and rain with 14 overs remaining.

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