Ackermann holds up Sussex at Leicester

A draw looks the most likely outcome when Sussex's county championship visit to Leicestershire comes to an end on Monday.

Sunday, 22nd April 2018, 8:40 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 6:37 am
Ishant Sharma found it tough going, as did all the Sussex bowlers

Colin Ackermann hit 186 as Leicestershire ended the third day of their division-two clash on close to level terms against opponents Sussex. The South African, who had been 61 not out overnight, went to his 150 shortly before tea, having faced 294 balls and hit 20 fours.

Having resumed with the Foxes 112-2, the first hour of play saw Ackermann and Mark Cosgrove being made to work hard for their runs by fast bowler Ishant Sharma. The India international, with the wickets of Leicestershire openers Paul Horton and Michael Carberry already to his name, ran in hard from the Bennett End, but other than a very occasional variation in bounce, found little encouragement in the dry but flat pitch.

Ackermann cover drove David Wiese to the boundary to bring up his hundred, and Cosgrove was looking in good shape to follow him to three figures when, on 64, he mistimed a drive at the part-time leg-spin of Luke Wells, giving the bowler a low return catch.

Ateeq Javid, making his debut for Leicestershire, made a laboured 13 off 66 balls before being dismissed leg before wicket by David Wiese, but Neil Dexter joined his compatriot Ackermann in a partnership of 75 for the fifth wicket before edging a delivery from Wells that bounced more than he expected to wicket-keeper Ben Brown.

Lewis Hill, having taken a couple of steps down the wicket, may have been unfortunate to be given out leg before to Wells, before the tiring Ackermann attempted to reverse sweep Wells and top-edged a simple catch to Harry Finch at slip. He had batted for over seven hours, faced 350 balls, and was only one run short of his previous first-class career best.

Ben Raine hit two sixes in a brisk 40 before Leicestershire captain Michael Carberry declared, giving his bowlers six overs at Sussex openers Wells and Phil Salt - overs they negotiated safely.

Wells said: "It was nice to get a prolonged bowl today, not having bowled properly for a long time through knee injuries and so on, so after not getting runs in the first innings it was nice to go out there and contribute, and I feel like I’m pretty much back to 100% fitness. It’s a rare sight to see two leg-spinners bowling in tandem, with myself and Will Beer, and I think we both enjoyed it.

“It’s been strange in a way, because I was just sort of becoming a recognised bowler when I got injured and I haven’t really bowled for 18 months to two years. I feel like it adds a different dimension to my game and hopefully it will help us win a few games down the road as well. There’s something in the pitch with the new ball, but it’s basically an attritional wicket, hard work for both batters and bowlers, in a way. What turn there is is out of the footholds, out of the rough, but once the ball goes soft it becomes very difficult to beat the bat.”