Rishi Patel scores unbeaten as Glamorgan’s game at Leicestershire ends in a draw’s draw
An impressive unbeaten first century on his home ground from Rishi Patel was a highlight as Leicestershire’s County Championship match with Glamorgan fizzled out as a draw on the final day.
The 24-year-old right-hander, whose potential has excited the coaching staff at Grace Road since his move from Essex in 2020, seems now to be realising it.
This was Patel’s second hundred in three matches after breaking his duck by driving his team to an epic victory over Yorkshire at Headingley three weeks ago.
He played superbly, rarely making an error let alone offering a chance, hitting 18 fours and three sixes in his career-best 134 not out before Leicestershire declared their second innings on 252 for three.
His captain, Lewis Hill, was unlucky not to join him on three figures, dragging one onto his stumps for 82 having never looked in any trouble, the two sharing a 203-run partnership for the second wicket.
Earlier, Glamorgan had extended their overnight lead from 39 to 58 in losing their last two first-innings wickets as they were all out for 465, Chris Cooke the final man to depart after hitting 132.
Veteran Leicestershire seamer Chris Wright finished with five for 59.
Bottom of the table last season, Leicestershire are beginning to look like a team with promotion potential this year, having topped 400 first-innings runs in all three Championship matches played so far and compiling seven partnerships of 100 runs or more in those games, compared with nine in total in the 2022 campaign.
Cooke’s century for the visitors followed his unbeaten 191 in the corresponding fixture last season. He lost his middle stump making room to swing hard as Wright completed a five-wicket haul for the first time since September 2021.
Two overs earlier, Andrew Salter had departed in unfortunate and uncomfortable circumstances, a ball from Wright jagging back to strike him somewhere around his protective box and rolling onto the stumps as he dropped to his haunches.
Having been 155 for five, Glamorgan will have felt well satisfied that their second five wickets had put on double that runs tally.
Doing so had taken so long, however, on top of overs lost earlier to the weather, that there was little prospect of fashioning a positive result.
Glamorgan’s only hope was that they could bowl Leicestershire out in around 50 of the 87 overs still to play and give themselves a modest target in such time that remained.
Michael Neser gave them an encouraging start, having opener Sol Budinger out for a single when he prodded at one outside off stump and gave David Lloyd the simplest of catches at first slip.
Yet any optimism was tempered in the next over as Patel pounced on a legside delivery from Timm van der Gugten with such timing and vigour that the ball sailed out of the ground and into Milligan Road, coming to rest under a parked van.
It was an indication of what was to come as Patel picked up boundaries all round the ground.
On 42 from 25 for one at lunch, he hammered 18 in one over off Salter soon after the resumption, back-to-back swept fours taking him to 51 from 74 balls with nine fours and a six, which he celebrated with another six down the ground off the off-spinner.
Salter recovered well and with Neser taking over from Van der Gugten at the Bennett End, the flow of runs was temporarily stemmed.
But Patel got going again when Marnus Labuschagne replaced Salter, reverse sweeping the Australian to the fence to go to 98 before driving Jamie McIlroy’s medium pace through mid-off to complete a hundred off 137 balls.
Hill went past fifty off 91 balls shortly afterwards as Leicestershire’s lead topped 100 with very little doing for any of the bowlers under high cloud.
The Leicestershire skipper must have had an eye on his second century of the season but missed out, falling just before tea on 82 as his counterpart Lloyd picked up a first wicket in the second innings.
He added a second when Colin Ackermann holed out to deep midwicket soon after tea, before the teams shook hands on the inevitable draw at 4.50pm.
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