County Championship: Gloucestershire in dominant position against Leicestershire
Will Gidman's career-best 143 helped Gloucestershire take complete control against Leicestershire on day two.
Last Updated: 05/09/13 4:46pm
Having returned career-best bowling figures of 6-15 on the opening day, the all-rounder posted his highest score of 143 to propel Gloucestershire to 516-9 declared and an imposing first innings lead of 399.
Leicestershire reached the close on 60-1 in their second innings and are still 339 runs behind, staring down the barrel of an innings defeat.
Resuming on 210-4, Gloucestershire's aim was to bat for as long as possible and wear down the pitch as well as their opponents.
Certainly, the fifth wicket pair of Hamish Marshall and Benny Howell commenced in positive fashion, feeding off a series of short deliveries as boundaries flowed on the second morning.
These two had already banked a second batting bonus point and were looking increasingly secure when their partnership of 69 was unexpectedly terminated in the 64th over, Howell mistiming a drive and skying a catch to mid-off to gift former Durham paceman Ben Raine his first success of the match.
Howell had harvested 34 from 61 balls and mustered six fours in a stand which set the tone for the rest of the day.
Not content to act as the junior partner, new batsman Gidman immediately matched Marshall blow for blow despite the pitch becoming slower and lower.
Veteran New Zealander Marshall was first to 50, raising that landmark with his seventh boundary, a square cut four at the expense of Shiv Thakor.
Having started the match on 856 first-class runs for the season, Marshall had three figures firmly in his sights when he was pinned lbw by Raine for 81.
Especially strong off the back foot, he faced 152 balls, struck 11 fours and helped add 97 for the sixth wicket with Gidman.
Maximum batting bonus points and a lead of 300 represented minimum requirements for Gloucestershire and the in-form Gidman ensured both boxes were ticked prior to the tea interval.
His 50 came from 105 balls and the all-rounder required a further 45 deliveries to realise three figures. He faced 183 balls in all, accrued 16 fours and two sixes and comfortably surpassed his previous career-best score of 116 not out, made in a losing cause against Northamptonshire in Bristol in 2011.
On loan from Middlesex and eager to earn a contract offer, off-spinner Tom Smith did his prospects no harm at all by posting his first 50 for Gloucestershire, more than holding his own in a progressive partnership of 131 in 35 overs with Gidman for the seventh wicket.
Required to negotiate 15 overs at the end of the day, Leicestershire were further undermined when Greg Smith departed for nine, trapped lbw by David Payne's left-arm swing.