Gloucestershire 503 for 6 (Higgins 196*, Dent 176, Howell 52) lead Leicestershire 487 (Dexter 180, Azad 137, Ackermann 56*) by 16 runs
A partnership of 318 between Ryan Higgins and Chris Dent for the sixth wicket saw Gloucestershire overhaul Leicestershire’s imposing first-innings score in their Specsavers County Championship match at the Fischer County Ground.
Dent, who hit 176, and Higgins, who was on a first-class career-best 196 not out at the close of play, came together with Gloucestershire in trouble at 131 for 5 shortly before lunch.
They had resumed on 41 for 3, needing 338 to avoid being asked to bat again. Dent and Benny Howell extended their fourth wicket partnership to 77 before Howell, having gone to his 50 off 70 balls, pushed forward to Chris Wright and edged to Colin Ackermann at second slip.
Leicestershire did not help themselves by failing to hold three tough chances during the session. Harry Dearden dropped Dent on 15 at third slip off the bowling of Mohammad Abbas, and then missed Howell on 31 at gully off Dieter Klein, while Neil Dexter at gully could not hang on to an edge by Jack Taylor off Wright before the batsman had scored.
Taylor scored only five before being bowled by Will Davis, a full delivery that swung in and took a slight inside edge, and Dent, having gone to his 50 off 100 balls may have been fortunate to survive a concerted leg before appeal on 52. After that, however, neither he nor Higgins gave a chance as they set about a tiring Leicestershire attack on a pitch that flattened as the day went on.
Dent’s 100 came off 204 balls, Higgins’ off 139 and, having left the county’s previous sixth-wicket record against Leicestershire of 153 set in 1931 well behind, both men galloped past 150, bringing up the 300 partnership off 65.2overs at a run rate of 4.58 runs per over.
Leicestershire finally broke the partnership when Dent swung and missed at a straight delivery from Klein, having faced 311 balls and hit 25 fours and a six, but Higgins kept going, and was closing in on a maiden double century when an extended day finally came to a close.