Wednesday, April 22, 2009

16 wickets on Day Two leaves Glos on the ropes

Day 2 Close: Glos 155 & 115-9 (Masters 11-4-12-3) lead Essex 177 (Gidman 15.1-6-23-3) by 93 runs

An extraordinary day's cricket at Bristol, in which 16 wickets fell, left Gloucestershire fighting to stay in their second county championship match at Bristol.

After performing well in the morning and early afternoon to bowl Essex out for 177 and then making a solid start to their second-innings, a dramatic collapse saw 9 wickets fall for just 69 runs as the Shire finished the day just 93 runs ahead with one wicket remaining

The day had begun well for Glos who took four cheap wickets in the morning session.

Ian Saxelby made the initial breakthrough and a ludicrous attempted third-run, saw Hamish Marshall run Mark Pettini out with a direct hit from the third-man boundary. Marshall then took an excellent low catch at slip off Jon Lewis, before Alex Giman - who operated from the Jessop's stand end for the majority of the morning - enticed a slender edge from Jaik Mickleburgh for the first of his three wickets.

A late flurry from Ryan ten Doeschate pushed Essex up to 177 to give Essex a lead of 22.

The Shire safely negotiated the deficit and looked set to produce a competitive target at 51-0. But when ten Doeschate broke the partnership, batsman fluently tumbled to leave the final pair battling to creep the target up to something more competitive.

Had James Franklin survived until tomorrow, reaching a target of 120 plus would have been realistic, but with regulation tailenders at the crease, every run will be a bonus.

For the second time in the match, Essex have used the green pitch and overcast conditions to their full advantage. David Masters in particular, threatened regularly and was unfortunate to only claim three wickets of the lower order.

The hope will be that the target can be edged up above 110 and then something special can be produced with the ball. If the conditions remain as bowler friendly, and James Franklin returns to the field, then the Shire will have a chance to pull off an unlucky victory.

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