Foxes’ decision backfires as Coetzer finds form

Kyle Coetzer hit an unbeaten 150 on day one at Grace Road
Kyle Coetzer hit an unbeaten 150 on day one at Grace Road

Kyle Coetzer hit an unbeaten 150 to put Northamptonshire into a strong position at the end of the first day of the County Championship Division Two game against Leicestershire at Grace Road.

The knock was a Championship-best for the 29-year-old who had scored only 133 runs in his previous nine innings.

Andrew Hall also made an unbeaten half-century as top-of-the-table Northants reached the close on a healthy 320-4 after being put into bat.

The century was the seventh of Coetzer’s career and his second for Northants, both of which have against Leicestershire last season.

But the bottom-of-the-table hosts had only themselves to blame for allowing Northants to take such an early grip on the game. The bowlers failed to make the most of a green-tinged pitch and were not helped by dropped catches.

A total of five went down in the day, the most costly proving to be Coetzer, who was dropped on 25 when Nathan Buck failed to hold on to a sharp return catch off his own bowling.

Another major problem for Leicestershire was the number of boundaries they conceded. Coetzer took 120 balls to reach 50 but hit 11 fours.

And when he brought up his century he had struck 19 boundaries in a 191-ball innings. In all, Leicestershire conceded a total of 202 runs in boundaries in the shape of 49 fours and a six.

After the early departure of Matthew Spriegel, trapped lbw by Alex Wyatt for seven, Coetzer and David Sales shared a stand of 65.

Sales was dropped on 21, but had his off stump knocked back with Wyatt’s first ball after lunch and was out for 32.

The impressive Coetzer then dominated a third-wicket partnership with Alex Wakely, who was dropped at slip off Ollie Freckingham early in his innings. But he hung around to share a stand of 74 before edging to slip off Buck for 18.

Rob Keogh was caught at mid-on for the same score off Michael Thornely with the total 200 but Hall then joined forces with Coetzer to punish the Leicestershire attack in the final session.

The fifth-wicket pair hammered 120 in 34 overs with Coetzer reaching his 150 off 277 balls with a six and 26 fours and Hall unbeaten on 65 at the close