LV County Championship - Division Two
Leicestershire 159 (P A Nixon 57, D D Masters 6-24) & 449 (H D Ackerman 112, P A Nixon 92 no, C W Henderson 66, H H Dippenaar 64, R N ten Doeschate 5-58) v Essex 164 (M N Malik 6-46) & 320-9 (J S Foster 88 no, R S Bopara 87, C W Henderson 4-68)
Essex (7pts) drew with Leicestershire (7pts)
Last-wicket pair James Foster and Danish Kaneria survived the final 21
deliveries to earn Essex an unexpected draw against Leicestershire at Chelmsford.
The hosts had started the day on 69-1, chasing a mammoth victory target of 445 and as the wickets continued to fall a Leicestershire victory looked inevitable.
However, Foster and Kaneria saw Essex home on 320-9 with Foster resisting the Leicestershire attack for more than four hours for an unbeaten 88.
Essex lost their seventh wicket with the score on just 222 and 50 overs still remaining in the day.
But Foster was to find a resolute partner in David Masters and they stayed together at the crease for nearly two hours as they put together a half-century partnership.
Masters made only five from 87 deliveries before Tony Palladino hit just two singles from 53 balls as Leicestershire were thwarted.
Essex reached 69-1 in pursuit of a distant target of 445 at the close of the third day against Leicestershire at Chelmsford.
Jason Gallian (29no) and Ravi Bopara (26no) will resume on Saturday with a further 376 required for victory.
Essex opener Tom Westley was caught behind for 12 off Dillon du Preez's bowling, before Gallian and Bopara added 40 together to reach the close.
Leicestershire had used the first 70 overs of the day to extend their second innings from 233-3 to 449 all out.
Hylton Ackerman resumed on 90 and soon advanced to his 35th first-class century before being trapped by Ryan ten Doeschate (5-58) for 112.
The Foxes' advantage was rammed home by an eighth-wicket stand of 136 between skipper Paul Nixon and Claude Henderson.
Henderson's contribution to the partnership was 66, while Nixon finished unbeaten on 92 after running out of partners.
South Africans HD Ackerman and Boeta Dippenaar shared in a third-wicket stand of 145 to put Leicestershire in control against Essex.
Dippenaar was removed by Ravi Bopara - caught down the leg side by wicketkeeper James Fosterjust - before the close but by then the visitors had reached 233-3 in their second innings.
It leaves Leicestershire going into the third day with an advantage of 228 and with the prospect of leaving their rivals a testing challenge in the fourth innings.
Ackerman is within in sight of his third Championship century of the season after finishing the day unbeaten on on 90, with two sixes among his 13 boundaries.
Leicestershire were given a sound start by Tom New and Matthew Boyce with a stand of 63, before both were dismissed by the medium-paced Ryan ten Doeschate.
New was first to go, thanks to a magnificent diving catch in the slips by Jason Gallian, while Boyce, having made exactly half of the 82 on the board, fell victim to a more regulation catch at slip by Tom Westley.
Earlier, Essex advanced from 134-8 to 164 to earn a slender first-innings lead of five. Nadeem Malik became the second bowler in the match to return career-best figures, finishing with 6-46 from 19.3 overs. On the first day, David Masters claimed 6-24 in Leicestershire's first innings.
A total of 18 wickets fell for 293 runs on a hectic opening day to the clash between Essex and Leicestershire.
Former Foxes seamer David Masters claimed 6-24 against his old employers to help bundle out the visitors for just 159 at Chelmsford.
He picked up three wickets in each of his two spells, his first two successes being the in-form Hylton Ackerman and Tom New in only his second over.
Paul Nixon, who top scored with 57, and Jacques du Toit put together the one substantial partnership of the day, their 86-run stand helping Leicestershire recover from 24-5.
Essex found batting no easier when it came to their turn, Jason Gallian and Ravi Bopara departing in successive deliveries as their first five wickets went down for just 54.
Nadeem Malik claimed 5-33 to leave the hosts hanging on at 134-8 at the close, all-rounder James Middlebrook unbeaten on 36.
After the day's play umpires John Holder and Steve Garrett confirmed that despite the clatter of wickets, the pitch was not nearly as bad as the scores suggested.