Rory Kleinveldt scored a valuable unbeaten half-century for Northamptonshire assisting his side to avoid the follow-on in their LV=County Championship match with Essex at Chelmsford.
The home side finished on 55 for 1 in their second innings and an overall lead of 140 runs and a day left for play but South African Kleinveldt played a major part in frustrating their hopes to make significant progress in this weather-affected game.
The visitors had started the day on 143 for 3 still 217 behind Essex and they were soon in trouble losing two wickets in as many balls to Jamie Porter. The 23 year-old promising paceman sent Rob Keogh’s off stump cart-wheeling out of the ground as the batsman departed for 45 and then sent Adam Rossington on his way for a first ball duck to leave Northamptonshire reeling at 151 for 5.
Facing the possibility of following-on, the visitors had added 37 for the sixth wicket when Richard Levi , who had scored a confident 31, was struck on a finger by fast bowler Tom Moore and was forced to retire. It was later learned that Levi would take no further part in the match having sustained a broken knuckle..
Kleinveldt took his place, playing positively from the start. The third boundary of his innings ensured that the follow-on was averted and together with Josh Cobb, who had played with responsibly, he took the score onto onto 216 when former Leicestershire batsman Cobb drove spinner Aron Nijjar to Moore at long-on.
Ollie Stone joined Kleinveldt in a 55 runs stand for the seventh wicket before Jesse Ryder swept up the innings with three wickets in five deliveries. Stone played down the wrong line and was bowled for 22 and both Mohammad Azharullah and Maurice Chambers were pinned in the crease without score.
That left Kleinveldt out of partners and unbeaten on 52, his half-century having come from 56 balls with eight boundaries, as the visitors were dismissed for 275.
On a day when 34 overs were lost to a combination of bad light and rain, Essex then made sedate progress in their second innings against accurate bowling from the Northants pace attack.
Openers Dan Lawrence and Nick Browne had scored a cautious 22 in 14 overs when the latter was well held at second slip by Keogh off the bowling of the impressive Stone for 14.
Lawrence, who had been dropped twice on 4 off Kleinveldt was 23 and Tom Westley a fluent 16 when bad light closed in to bring proceedings to a halt for the final time.
Both captains will need an enterprising approach if there is to be a positive conclusion tomorrow but a draw remains the most likely outcome.