Rishi Patel hits new batting heights as Leicestershire draw with Glamorgan
Rishi Patel struck a career-best 179 as he notched his fourth century of an increasingly lucrative summer on the runs front for Leicestershire on the final day of the County Championship Division Two clash with Glamorgan.
There were 16 fours and five sixes in the 24-year-old opener’s impeccable knock as he led the Foxes to five priceless batting points as their heavily curtailed game at Sophia Gardens ended in a draw.
Durham’s big home win over Gloucestershire saw them move further ahead at the top of the table, but Leicestershire’s 11 points from a game reduced to only two innings because of the rain saw them hold on to the second promotion place.
Leicestershire saw their hosts score 403-9 in their first innings and they entered the fourth and final day at 28-0. Patel began the day on 24 and picked up where he had left off against the Welsh county in the second innings of their previous meeting at Grace Road at the end of April, when he hit an unbeaten 134 to help his side pick up the draw.
His highest first-class score before this season was 99, and his one-chance 179 on a placid wicket in the Welsh capital was his fourth century of the campaign in nine matches.
Leicestershire saw opener Sol Budinger depart in the second over of the morning. The Glamorgan hero from their first innings, Australian all-rounder Michael Nesser, got the immediate breakthrough with a ball that rose and flicked a glove to give Chris Cooke a catch at the wicket.
Budinger left for five runs, having only added one to his overnight total, and that brought visiting skipper Lewis Hill to the wicket to join Patel. They played steadily throughout the remainder of the opening hour, which saw 45 runs added, before accelerating to build a decent partnership.
Patel, who had started on 24, brought up his 50 in the 24th over and in the next over Hill hit a six and a four in successive balls from spin bowler Mitchell Swepson to bring up the 100.
There was a 14-minute break for rain just before lunch when everyone, including the ground staff, were caught out by a two-minute deluge that forced players and umpires to race for the pavilion. Lunch saw the Foxes on 124-1 and Hill’s 97-ball fifty was brought up with a square cut for four off Zain-ul-Hassan in the 40th over.
Patel reached three figures with a cut to the third-man boundary off Swepson to notch his fourth century of the summer in the 48th over.
Patel and Hill put on 168 for the second wicket before Hill fell on the square-leg boundary as he tried to loft a bouncer from James Harris out of the ground. Instead, he found the safe hands of Kiran Carlson and departed for 78.
Patel then enjoyed stands of 56 with Colin Ackerman for the third wicket and 65 with Peter Handcomb for the fourth before he was bowled by Zain in the 78th over of the innings. He had batted for just over six hours and faced 237 balls.
Louis Kimber enjoyed himself at the end of the day, striking two sixes and a four off Carlson in the 87th over to not only bring up the 400, and the fourth batting point, but also steering his side past the Glamorgan total. He was then bowled in the next over by Swepson for an enterprising 61.
Once they had gained the fifth and final batting point, Leicestershire declared and the game ended with six overs remaining a little after 6pm.
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