Chris Cooke and Michael Neser boost Glamorgan with big partnership
Chris Cooke and Michael Neser starred with the bat as Glamorgan mounted an impressive fightback against Leicestershire on the third day of their LV= Insurance County Championship match.
With Glamorgan struggling on 225 for seven replying to 407, Cooke and Neser shared a stand of 211 – the highest for the eighth wicket for the Welsh county against any opponent – to take their side up to 446 for eight.
Cooke remained unbeaten on 121 at stumps, with Neser departing for 90, after Australia international Marnus Labuschagne had contributed 64.
Leicestershire were handicapped by an injury to Ed Barnes, one of their five seam bowlers, who reported for duty with a swollen ankle, ruling him out of bowling for the remainder of the match.
Nonetheless, Glamorgan knew it would need to be “a fighting day”, as opening bat Eddie Byrom described it on Friday evening, if they were to force a way back into the contest after closing the second day five wickets down and still 243 runs behind. In the event, they met the requirement.
Nightwatchman Timm van der Gugten was a casualty within the first half-hour, caught off Chris Wright when he pulled in the air to midwicket, where Rishi Patel ultimately dived to take a good catch after covering some ground to get under it.
The dismissal brought together Sam Northeast and Cooke, with the pair adding 39.
Northeast fell caught behind, slashing at a widish ball from Mikey Finan, for 40.
Finan, the Leicestershire bowler most likely to offer scoring opportunities, too often gave Neser width and the batter rarely missed out as Glamorgan reached lunch with the follow-on all but avoided.
The afternoon session was the first in the match with no wickets to fall, which confirmed how much the playing surface had settled down after a couple of drying days.
Leicestershire captain Lewis Hill rotated his bowlers regularly in the hope something might happen, but there was little in the way of obvious help for either of his spinners.
Cooke and Neser were able to add 120 runs, growing their partnership to 151 from 376 for seven at tea, just 31 short of parity.
Wright posed problems at times but not enough to induce a fatal error as both batters went past fifty, Cooke’s coming off 118 balls with four boundaries, Neser reaching the milestone from 94 deliveries when he pulled Wright for his seventh four.
The pair continued in much the same untroubled vein into another elongated final session, setting an eighth-wicket partnership record for Glamorgan against Leicestershire when they passed the 166 achieved by Gwyn Richards and Malcolm Nash at Swansea, going ahead of Leicestershire’s 407 in the 140th over.
Cooke completed the 11th hundred of his first-class career with a scrambled single off leg-spinner Rehan Ahmed, having hit five fours from 220 balls faced.
The arrival of some heavy cloud prompted the floodlights to be fired up, after which the ball began to do more through the air.
Neser perished to a superb delivery from Wright that he could only really admire as his middle stump lay on the ground behind him before bad light took more time out of the game, ending a scheduled 104-over day 13 overs early.
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