Leicestershire 64 for 3 Northamptomshire 204 (Chappell 6-44) by 140 runs
Zak Chappell took a maiden first-class five-wicket haul as Leicestershire edged the first day as the Specsavers County Championship returned at Wantage Road, bowling Northamptonshire out for 204 before going to the close 64 for 3.
Chappell, playing his first County Championship match of the season, took 6 for 44 with the bulk of his work done in a fiery spell after lunch.
Before lunch, he seamed a quick, full delivery into Rob Newton’s off stump to remove the opener for 31 before a wider ball was edged by Alex Wakely to second slip where Mark Cosgrove claimed a very sharp catch above his right shoulder.
And then brought back into the attack an hour into the afternoon, he sent down six overs, 3 for 19 to run through the hosts’ middle order.
Tall and well-built, he gained some bounce to take Ricardo Vasconcelos’ edge to deny the left-hander a half-century on his County Championship debut. Two balls later, Chappell induced a thin edge from Rob Keogh who was caught behind for a duck.
Chappell’s five-for was completed when Rory Kleinveldt walked across his stumps to lose his leg stump for 21 before he flattened Nathan Buck’s off stump.
Ben Raine also claimed three wickets to help dismiss Northants shortly after tea after Leicestershire elected to field first. He made the opening breakthrough with one that bounced on Ben Duckett to take an edge behind. Saif Zaib, after a smart 34, slapped Raine straight to point before last man Ben Sanderson was pinned lbw.
Northants were going well with Vasconcelos and Adam Rossington taking them to 128 for 3 an after lunch on a wicket where plenty of grass was left on. But Chappell’s burst reduced them to 155 for 7 and it took Zaib and Buck to rescue a batting bonus point.
The total was put into context as Leicestershire came out to face 25 overs before the close. Sanderson found considerable swing to take two wickets in a nine-over burst. He claimed a stunning return catch down low to his right after Paul Horton produced a leading edge before a beauty straightened on Harry Dearden and took out his off stump.
Mark Cosgrove and Colin Ackermann looked to be steering the visitors to stumps but Cosgrove was pinned lbw by Ben Cotton – a short-term signing for Northants among a string of injuries – to ensure the home side kept in touch.