Leicestershire v Yorkshire: Fun day for Vikings at Grace Road as Fisher grabs his chance

Yorkshire's Matthew Fisher. Picture: John MallettYorkshire's Matthew Fisher. Picture: John Mallett
Yorkshire's Matthew Fisher. Picture: John Mallett
IT WAS only £1 to get in at Grace Road yesterday, which may or may not have explained the healthy number of Yorkshire supporters in the 3,000 crowd.

The “Family Funday” offer also saw a number of attractions in addition to the cricket, including a “petting zoo” in which children were allowed to handle live snakes.

“You don’t have to touch the snake if you don’t want to,” advised the kindly official in The Bennett Bar, holding up a small brown-and-white serpent in front of the kids.

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“Go on, Amy, go and touch the snake,” encouraged an enthusiastic parent, to which little Amy just screwed-up her face and shook her head quickly from side to side, as though she had just ingested some cod liver oil.

Meanwhile, out on the field, where there were cricketers on the grass as opposed to snakes lurking in it, Yorkshire proved somewhat more slippery than their hosts, advancing to a nine-wicket win that reignited their hopes of reaching the knockout stages.

Their second victory in five One-Day Cup games, including one no-result, left them third in the table with three matches left, their campaign continuing away to Derbyshire on Wednesday, with the top three teams in each group progressing.

After Leicestershire scored 293-9 from their 50 overs, Mark Cosgrove top-scoring with 84, Neil Dexter striking 50 not out and Ned Eckersley 50, and with Matthew Fisher taking 3-40, Yorkshire cruised home with 21 balls to spare.

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Adam Lyth led the way with a brilliant, unbeaten 132, made from 127 balls with 15 fours and two sixes, Cheteshwar Pujara struck 75 not out and Tom Kohler-Cadmore 74, the visitors killing off Leicestershire as surely as a venomous snake bite.

After fielding an unchanged team for their first three Cup games, prior to Friday’s wash-out at home to Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire showed four changes to their line-up here.

Club captain Gary Ballance returned for the first time in over a fortnight after a fatigue-like illness, although Steve Patterson will remain in charge for the rest of the tournament, while Fisher, Liam Plunkett and Jonathan Tattersall all made their first appearances of the season, with Jack Leaning, Tim Bresnan, Andrew Hodd and James Wainman all making way.

In sunny conditions and with a stiff breeze blowing, Leicestershire chose to bat on the same pitch on which Nottinghamshire had scored 409-7 four days earlier.

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Initially, and also in the context of the eventual result, the move backfired, the hosts slipping to 39-3 inside the first 10 overs.

Fisher, bowling from The Bennett End, took two of those wickets on his return after a side problem, trapping the South African left-hander Cameron Delport lbw with his third ball and then having Paul Horton caught at mid-off by Patterson, who did well to hold a fiercely-hit drive.

At the other end, Ben Coad accepted a simple caught-and-bowled chance after Colin Ackerman unwisely advanced to the bustling pace bowler, whose accuracy had prompted the indiscretion.

At that stage, Leicestershire looked in something of a pickle, rather like poor old Amy in the face of the brown-and-white snake.

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But Yorkshire’s support bowling was not quite so effective, Cosgrove and Eckersley playing nicely to give the innings needed momentum.

Cosgrove, the bulky left-hander, danced down the pitch to power Patterson for six over mid-wicket before twice lofting Adil Rashid for straight sixes.

Eckersley, although less flamboyant, was no less effective, the right-hander also revealing power when he also advanced to club Patterson for a leg-side six.

The fourth-wicket pair added 128 in 21 overs before Eckersley mistimed Plunkett to mid-on, Cosgrove following soon after when he lofted Rashid to long-on, where Kohler-Cadmore somehow kept his balance on the boundary edge to judge an excellent high catch.

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Kohler-Cadmore took an easier catch off Rashid to remove Tom Wells at long-off, before Rashid caught a steepling chance close-in on the offside to account for Ben Raine off Patterson.

Coad had Callum Parkinson caught behind off one that climbed and Fisher had Richard Jones skying to the wicketkeeper, but Dexter and the tail helped Leicestershire to a reasonable score.

After first-wicket stands of 80, 80 and 72 in the tournament previously, Lyth and Kohler-Cadmore maintained their consistency as the day became increasingly cloudy and muggy.

“Family Funday” was “fun” only from a Yorkshire point of view as Lyth, in particular, took a fancy to anything remotely in the slot, peppering his favoured off-side regions.

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The left-hander went to a velvety half-century from 36 balls, Kohler-Cadmore following him to the landmark from 55 deliveries.

The pair had raised 153 in 23 overs when Kohler-Cadmore pulled Delport firmly to mid-wicket, his 74 following previous scores in the tournament of 164, 39 and 89.

Lyth took another 60 balls to reach his century, which included 13 fours and a pulled six off Ackerman.

He added 142 with the princely Pujara, who registered his fourth score of 50-plus in four Cup innings.