De Lange delivers with bat and ball for Gloucestershire to leave Northants on the ropes

Marchant de Lange was too hot for the Northants batters to handle at the County Ground on SaturdayMarchant de Lange was too hot for the Northants batters to handle at the County Ground on Saturday
Marchant de Lange was too hot for the Northants batters to handle at the County Ground on Saturday
Northants were left to rue a bad day with bat and ball as Gloucestershire took total control of the Vitality County Championship Division Two clash on Saturday.

While Gloucester's rugby players were being humiliated in a 90-0 14-try demolition a couple miles down the road at Franklin's Gardens, the county's cricketers were doing their bit to restore some pride at Wantage Road.

Without a win in four-day cricket since September, 2022, Gloucestershire dominated day two at the County Ground and will go into Sunday's day three with a commanding 315-run lead, and with 10 second innings wickets in hand.

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It was a bad day at the office all round for Northants, who first allowed the visitors to progress to 409 all out from their overnight score of 338 for eight, and were then rushed out for 171 in their first innings.

There were golden ducks for Emilio Gay and Karun Nair, while Ricardo Vasconcelos (43), Luke Procter (32), George Bartlett (21) and Saif Zaib (23) all failed to kivk on after making good starts, leaving Lewis McManus stranded on 29 not out.

The start of the afternoon session in particular was damaging, with pace bowler Marchant de Lange dismissing Vasconcelos and Nair in the first over as Northants slipped from 57 for one to 57 for three, and they never recovered.

The always dangerous De Lange went on to claim five for 42 from 16 overs, his 13th first-class five-wicket haul.

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"We were 50-1 at lunch and I thought the momentum was with us and then those two wickets after lunch stung that momentum," said Northants batting coach Greg Smith.

"They bowled really well and charged in and when the momentum is against you it was a terrible three hours.

"They are in the box seat but the wicket looks pretty good so we will drag the game on on Sunday, and we've batted well this summer so far.

"You are going to have bad days in the season but let's not panic.

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"Marchant (de Lange) is one of the nicest blokes you'll meet. He is a good full-hearted cricketer who can take the game away with the bat and with the ball he just charges in. He's an enforcer."

De Lange had also done damage with the bat in the morning session, clubbing 36 not out from 42 balls on the same ground where he hammered only first-class century for Glamorgan back in 2020.

Josh Shaw also hit 44 as the pair put on 71 for the ninth wicket, while the pick of the County bowlers was Indian seamer Siddharth Kaul on debut, as he finished with five for 76, the 17th-five-wicket haul of his career.

Opting to bat again rather than enforce the follow on, Gloucestershire then looked totally untroubled as they eased to 77 without loss at stumps.

The south-west county will have a long overdue victory on their minds as they head into day three at Wantage Road, while Northants have got a lot of work to do to just save the game.

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