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    Handscomb got out on 99 in the Leicestershire vs. Northamptonshire match
Handscomb got out on 99 in the Leicestershire vs. Northamptonshire match
Peter Handscomb's efforts helped secure a draw. Source: Getty Images

Handscomb got out on 99 in the Leicestershire vs. Northamptonshire match

Australian Test batter Peter Handscomb and England all-rounder Rehan Ahmed were instrumental in Leicestershire's victory over Northamptonshire, which eliminated the latter's hopes of achieving a first Division Two victory in the Vitality County Championship season. This season has been characterised by rain-affected draws.

Leicestershire responded to Northamptonshire's first-innings score of 453 for 7 declared with a score of 452 for 8 declared in a match that had seen only 37 overs bowled on Saturday and a complete washout on Sunday. Handscomb was Leicestershire's top scorer, although he missed out on achieving a personal milestone and contributing to a third century for the county when he was run out on 99.

Ahmed scored 85 runs, with Louis Kimber contributing 65 and Tom Scriven scoring 54 not out, enabling the two teams to collectively gain 15 points, positioning them at the top and second place in the league standings. However, the first four rounds have yielded only a few positive outcomes across the entire division.

Lanky fast bowler George Scrimshaw took his first two wickets since moving from Derbyshire to Wantage Road, while veteran seamer Ben Sanderson raised his wickets tally for Northamptonshire to 500 in all senior formats. The visitors' day was also notable in a less positive way as captain Luke Procter accrued a five-run penalty against his team when he struck Rehan on the leg with the ball in attempting to run him out off his own bowling.

Procter, fielding in his follow-through, believed he was within his rights to take a shy at the stumps as the batter stepped out of his crease. Umpires Ben Debenham and Jack Shantry ruled that he had thrown the ball "in an inappropriate or dangerous manner" in contravention of Law 42 in the game's rule book.

Scrimshaw's wickets came in his first three overs of the day and reduced Leicestershire to 142 for 4 only 11 overs after the resumption, leading to concerns that they might struggle to avoid being asked to follow on after returning 356 in arrears.

A specialist in white-ball cricket, Scrimshaw is eager to demonstrate his versatility across all formats. He achieved his second wicket with his second delivery, bowling Lewis Hill back in his crease to win an lbw verdict. He then had Kimber caught behind defending off a thin outside edge.

On a surface that was conducive to batting, Northamptonshire was unable to gain the upper hand. Handscomb seized the opportunity to test the pace of the outfield following Sunday's precipitation and found that it had not suffered as much as might have been anticipated. He reached 50 from 54 balls with his ninth boundary.

Despite the incident with Procter, Rehan remained unruffled and even seemed energised by it. He was soon adding to the flow of boundaries. He was dismissed at first slip off the medium pace of James Sales on 48. He proceeded to complete his half-century from 59 balls with seven fours, marking the achievement with a six over deep midwicket off Saif Zaib's left-arm spin.

Both players appeared to be on course for centuries, but Ahmed fell 15 runs short after attempting to loft Sanderson over mid-on but failing to connect cleanly, allowing Scrimshaw to make an easy catch.

Sanderson struck again two balls later as the new man, Ben Cox, edged into the slips. The catch was completed by Emilio Gay at second after Ricardo Vasconcelos had failed to gather at third.

The partnership between Handscomb and Rehan contributed 167 runs in just over 32 overs, ensuring that the team would avoid the follow-on.

Rehan's disappointment was likely eclipsed by Handscomb's after the manner of his dismissal. The Australian right-hander achieved three boundaries in a single Scrimshaw over, but was unable to maintain the strike for more than two deliveries in the following hour.

Handscomb's patience is rarely tested, but this time it cracked and he paid the price. He took a single off Zaib, which was clearly high risk and was beaten to the non-striker's end by Karun Nair's direct hit from short midwicket. This was the first occasion on which Handscomb had been dismissed for 99 runs in 440 senior matches.

Sanderson reached his 500th run by having Ben Green caught at first slip. More positive batting from all-rounders Scott Currie and Scriven added 92 for the ninth wicket, resulting in maximum batting points for their side with 11 balls to spare before handshakes were offered on the draw.

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