Michael Neser’s career-best 176* changes the course of events for Glamorgan
On day three of Glamorgan’s Division Two LV= County Championship match against Leicestershire at Sophia Gardens, a masterful counter-attacking century by Michael Neser saved Glamorgan from a grave situation.
The Australian all-rounder scored a career-high 176 not out, and James Harris added 47 as they combined 128 runs for the eighth wicket. Then, Mitchell Swepson scored his highest-ever score of 69 runs off only 70 deliveries as he and Neser added another 123 runs for the ninth wicket.
The Foxes had shredded Glamorgan’s top order, leaving them teetering on 93 for 7 soon after lunch. It was an impressive comeback from the hosts.
In a match that was significantly cut short by bad weather, Glamorgan eventually declared when they were 403 for 9 in their first innings.
With odds of a draw on day four, a disheartened Leicestershire finished the day with 28 for 0 from seven overs in their first innings of reply.
Continual rain in Cardiff limited the number of overs that could be made during the first two days to 17, while more showers delayed play on day three.
Glamorgan restarted the game at 54 to 1 and was eager to make up for lost time when play began at 11.45 a.m.
Sam Northeast started back on 15 and Zain ul Hassan on 32. But eight balls later, the rain and the covers were back, and only one run had been added to the overnight total.
Chris Wright bowled Northeast two balls after the game resumed, and he had not increased his overnight total.
Soon later, when Ul Hassan was dismissed for 33 off the bowling of Matt Salisbury by Louis Kimber, he was led back to the pavilion by Ul Hassan.
After facing only eight balls, Kiran Carlson was eventually bowled by Wright for 1 to leave the hosts with 57 for 4 and 3 for 3 after the first six overs of the morning.
It was up to Billy Root and Chris Cooke to attempt to rebuild the innings, and Root gave Glamorgan the push they needed with a string of consecutive home runs against Wright.
Root’s comeback, however, was short-lived as he was eventually out for 12 after edging Tom Scriven to Kimber, who made a superb catch at third slip to bring the home team’s score to 73 for 5.
Michael Neser was then called to the crease, and together with Cooke, he and Cooke overcame the Leicestershire assault to lead Glamorgan to 86 for 5 at lunch.
However, Cooke was dismissed lbw to Scriven for 10 from the first ball after lunch after being dropped by Kimber in the penultimate over of the morning session.
Timm van der Gugten hit Salisbury for four in the next ball, but was immediately caught behind by wicketkeeper Peter Handscomb off the next ball, leaving Glamorgan in difficulty at 93 for 7.
It appeared as though the batting would be over quickly and Leicestershire were on the verge of an unlikely triumph when Harris was dropped by Colin Ackermann on 10 in the slips.
To drive the home team to 218 for 7 at tea and almost surely eliminate a favorable outcome, Harris and Neser made the most of that life.
Harris was eventually caught by Scriven with a lbw just after tea, but Swepson’s bold play, a fellow Australian, enabled Neser to finish off his first home century for Glamorgan and secure his team an improbable fourth batting bonus point.
After making one too many big hits, Swepson was finally stumped by Handscomb off the bowling of Callum Parkinson on 69, when he had just scored his first-ever first-class fifty with a shrewd pull for four.
After another 59 runs were scored by Neser and No. 11 Jamie McIlroy, a worn-out Leicestershire team was put out of its misery shortly after 6.20 p.m. Starting at 11 a.m. on Thursday, day four will officially begin.
Leicestershire 28 for 0 trail Glamorgan 403 for 9 dec (Neser 176*, Swepson 69) by 375 runs