Wakely hails his seamers after Northamptonshire beat rivals

Northamptonshire captain Alex Wakely (left)
Northamptonshire captain Alex Wakely (left)

Captain Alex Wakely praised his four seam bowlers after Northamptonshire ended a run of 20 LV- County Championship matches without a win by beating Leicestershire by 92 runs at Grace Road.

“It won’t be often you go into a game with four seamers and no spinner, and credit to them, they were exceptional,” said Wakely, after Rory Kleinveldt, David Willey, Mohammad Azzharullah and Olly Stone bowled his side to victory.

“We were stuck in [to bat first] on a pitch that was in my opinion slightly under prepared and it was a very tough start, but time and again over the last few years we’ve got ourselves out of trouble and we did so again.

“We were up against a rejuvenated Leicestershire team which performed quite well, but we came through to win.”

Resuming on 44-1 in pursuit of 376 to win, the Foxes lost three wickets in the first hour of play and never really threatened to get close to their target.

Angus Robson, 25 overnight, had added only seven to his score when his off-stump was knocked out of the ground by an Azharullah delivery that straightened off the seam.

Captain Mark Cosgrove was then given out leg before wicket for 2 to Olly Stone, a decision that surprised the left-handed batsman, who clearly thought the ball was going over the stumps.

There were no such doubts about the decision to send Neil Pinner on his way, however, Azharullah switching ends to trap the batsman plumb in front for 12, leaving Leicestershire on 93-4.

Ned Eckersley and Niall O’Brien put together a partnership of 59 for the fifth wicket, but Northants struck again before lunch, Kleinveldt ending Eckersley’s 111 ball innings of 37 with an in-swinger that won another leg before decision.

Tom Wells became the fourth lbw victim when he was beaten by Kleinveldt’s in-swinger, but Niall O’Brien played with characteristic fluency in going to his half-century, hitting eight fours before inside-edging a Kleinveldt delivery into his stumps.

Ben Raine went quickly, caught behind driving at Azharullah, but Leicestershire’s newly arrived overseas player Clint McKay hit out to good effect, as he had in the Foxes’ first innings, before top edging a hook at Stone into the hands of deep backward square leg.

Ollie Freckingham and Charlie Shreck ensured Leicestershire’s defeat would be by less than 100 before Shreck went caught behind off Kleinveldt, who finished with 4-87.

“Rory was on fire today,” said Wakely. “You want someone who doesn’t want the ball taken off them and who can run in and bowl all day.”