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    Marcus Harris digs in as Derbyshire rue missed opportunities
Marcus Harris digs in as Derbyshire rue missed opportunities
Marcus Harris battled to 77 not out on a truncated day. Source: Getty Images

Marcus Harris digs in as Derbyshire rue missed opportunities

Australian opener Marcus Harris helped Leicestershire to victory in the Vitality County Championship at Derby on a day when Derbyshire fumbled their lines.

Harris maintained his concentration through lengthy rain delays to score an unbeaten 77 from 147 balls but was dropped twice after Derbyshire elected to bowl first on a chilly opening day at the County Ground. Derbyshire also dismissed Rishi Patel, who made 36 before being bowled by New Zealand fast bowler Blair Tickner, who was the pick of the attack.

Despite losing 50 overs, Leicestershire made good progress and closed on 168 for 2 with skipper Lewis Hill not out on 34.

Derbyshire's previous home fixture against Gloucestershire had been a complete washout, with no play possible on any of the four days. And there was more frustration to be had despite the match starting in bright sunshine.

That proved to be deceptive as steely grey clouds rolled in and only 18 overs were bowled in the morning session after Derbyshire put Leicestershire in to bat on a green-tinged pitch.

Derbyshire brought in fast bowler Pat Brown for only the ninth Championship game of his career, while Ben Green made his Leicestershire debut following his loan move from Somerset.

Sam Conners and Tickner were sharing the new ball and they should have had both the openers in the first half hour of the day. Harris made just 1 when he edged Tickner to second slip in the fourth over, but Wayne Madsen had a shoulder-high chance.

It was the sort of catch Madsen is used to taking. There was more frustration for the home side when Patel was given life on nine two overs later. Conners found the right-hander's outside edge only to see Aneurin Donald dive to his right at third slip and spill the ball.

Having opted to bowl, those chances had to be taken and Patel and Harris made the most of them to take Leicestershire past 50 before rain interrupted play shortly after lunch.

When play resumed at 2.05pm, there was more for the bowlers but Derbyshire wasted a third opportunity three overs into the afternoon session. Harris, who had looked unconvincing early on, was on 26 when he edged Anuj Dal low to Madsen, who again failed to hold on.

But the stand was broken in the next over when Tickner, who had been challenging the batsmen with his disciplined line, found enough away movement to beat Patel's forward defensive push and knock off stump.

When the rain returned and kept the players off the field until 5.30pm, Harris was six short of his fifty. When play resumed, Derbyshire quickly claimed a second wicket. Louis Kimber played a good length ball from Conners without moving his feet and edged to the third slip where Donald made no mistake this time.

But the rest of the day belonged to Harris and Hill, who scored freely in the closing overs to leave Leicestershire two down.

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