Northamptonshire 357 (Keogh 132, Rossington 63, Davis 4-73) and 22 for 0 need 119 more runs to beat Leicestershire 308 and 189 (Ackermann 60)
Northamptonshire, with all ten second innings wickets in hand, need just 119 more runs to complete victory, and possibly move into second place in the second division, after bowling Leicestershire out for 189 in their second innings.
Accuracy, allied to early swing, were the key factors in an impressive collective bowling display by the visitors, who won eight leg before wicket decisions from umpires Billy Taylor and Paul Pollard, equalling the world record in an innings in first-class cricket.
Eight leg-before decisions in an innings have occurred in eight previous first class matches.
The morning had seen Northants resume their first innings on 325 for 7, but lose their last three wickets in adding only 32 runs. Gareth Berg may have been a touch unfortunate to be given out leg before on the front foot to Will Davis: if so, fortune favoured the batsman when Davis’ next delivery hit Brett Hutton’s off-stump without dislodging the bail.
Hutton didn’t last much longer however, edging a Chris Wright out-swinger to wicketkeeper Harry Swindells. Doug Bracewell hit out to some effect, hooking Wright dismissively to the straight midwicket boundary, but the New Zealander’s attempt to loft Davis straight back over the bowler’s head was well held by Mark Cosgrove two-handed to his left at mid-on.
Leicestershire’s reply began badly when Paul Horton padded up to his first delivery from Sanderson and was palpably leg before, a second duck in the match for the Foxes’ skipper, while fellow opener Hassan Azad steered a rising delivery from Gareth Berg to first slip, where Alex Wakely held the chance two-handed at chest height to leave Leicestershire on 20 for 2.
They needed a big stand between the experienced Cosgrove and Colin Ackermann, but Hutton pinned Cosgrove with an in-swinger before Sanderson’s full, straight delivery accounted for George Rhodes.
Ackermann went on to make a half-century, but he too stepped across the line and missed when attempting to turn Hutton into the leg-side, and no further runs had been added when Swindells went in the same manner to Bracewell.
Callum Parkinson and Neil Dexter added 51 for the seventh wicket before Parkinson saw the finger raised to a delivery that would have gone on to hit off stump, while the delivery that saw the end of Dexter was adjudged to have brushed his pad before hitting the middle of a defensive bat.
Davis was next to go, to Bracewell, but with breaking the world record a possibility, Procter bowled Wright. In the circumstances, Northamptonshire may not be too dismayed.