Hundreds of Rishi Patel and Wiaan Mulder steered Leicestershire to a draw against Sussex after being asked to follow, preserving their unbeaten record in the County Championship Division Two.
Dismissed for 270 in response to their opponents’ 430 late Saturday, they ran into trouble early Sunday at 65-4 as Sussex chased a second win of the season.
But after Patel hit 100 from 157 – the third century of a season he started with none to his name – South African all-rounder Mulder put them to safety with an unbeaten 102 to go along with his five wickets in the Sussex sleeves.
He enjoyed valuable support from young all-rounder Tom Scriven, who contributed 51 paces to an unbroken seventh-wicket stand worth 99 in 23 overs before the sides shook hands in a draw with 20 overs no overthrown and Leicestershire 135 points ahead.
Sussex’s four-man couture attack had its moments, with 21-year-old Henry Crocombe looking sharp at times, but with Ari Karvelas and Brad Currie both making their first appearances of the campaign, they couldn’t finding the outstanding individual performance that was probably needed to shape a win, and missed two chances to fire Patel before he reached fifty.
Leicestershire had looked in danger of succumbing to the kind of rapid disintegration they were prone to last year when a strong trailing start was wiped out by the loss of four quick wickets midway through the morning session.
Six unbeaten overnight, having fallen short by just 11 points to reach the avoidance target on Saturday, they went to 48 without too much alarm in the first 40 minutes of play on the final morning, dealing relatively comfortably with a new ball attack from Karvelas and Currie.
But after a major slack when an advantage offered by Patel on the 27th was taken away by third slipper Tom Clark, the next eight saw them drop four wickets for nine runs, going from 56 unbeaten to 65-4.
Sol Budinger clipped Fynn Hudson-Prentice into the hands of the Ali Orr at one point, the fly-half receiving a send-off from the Sussex defenders which appeared to trigger a warning from the referees, immediately followed by captain Lewis Hill as Crocombe in was doing enough to induce an edge to first slip Tom Alsop.
Colin Ackermann, who scored 298 runs in his first four innings of the season but only 34 in his last five, faced 25 balls before being in the leg before Karvelas, after which Currie claimed the wicket Sussex was hoping for be key, providing a beauty to pass Peter Handscomb’s defensive bat and hit the Aussie’s stump.
With Leicestershire still 95 behind, Sussex’s tails were up but they missed another chance to fire Patel when he was dropped at the first slip on 47 off Currie, who also had a strong call for the front leg only against him would he be disallowed in his next game.
The home side still faced lunch, with 69 behind, but there was still suspicion that a Sussex attack lacking both Ollie Robinson and Nathan McAndrew could struggle to eliminate Leicestershire twice , especially in improving weather conditions and with their opponents concerned. only by saving the game.
Indeed, the two chances created but not taken against Patel began to look costly as the big right-hander continued to complete his hundred comprising three sixes and 16 limits.
After hitting the 154-ball milestone with his 16th four, Patel instead gave away his wicket, pushing a ball from Currie in the same time he didn’t need to play, giving the first slip Alsop a comfortable grip.
And when Rehan Ahmed was knocked out three overs later, brilliantly caught by a Steve Smith dive on Crocombe’s second slip, Leicestershire were vulnerable again – six down and just 36 ahead – with 43 more overs remaining.
But Leicestershire regained their resilience, Mulder finding his touch to register his century with his 16th four as the game ended in a draw.
Report provided by the ECB Reporters Network.