Ben Mike’s counter-attacking 90 added to two wickets against the county he left in November helped Leicestershire even up the ongoing season opener against Yorkshire on day two at Headingley.

After the start of play was once again delayed because of a wet outfield in this Vitality County Championship fixture, Mike led the recovery from 215-8 to 354 all out. 

Seamers Matt Milnes struck twice and Matthew Fisher once after the Foxes had started the day at 1.40pm with 72 overs to be bowled – on 164-5. 

But Mike would underpin a recovery with four sixes and nine fours in 113 balls as Leicestershire were bowled out midway through the evening as Milnes returned an impressive 4-73 from 17.3 overs. 

Yorkshire closed on 72-2 from 18 overs, bad light stopping play just before 7pm with four overs remaining. Adam Lyth was unbeaten on 43 after Fin Bean and Shan Masood had fallen.

Milnes struck three times today, including wrapping up the innings by getting number nine Mike brilliantly caught on the run by a diving Matthew Fisher at deep cover. Unfortunately, for Yorkshire significant damage had been done.

Matt Milnes

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Matt Milnes celebrates removing Leicestershire’s Scott Currie.

Mike shared 119 for the ninth wicket with tail-ender Tom Scriven, who valuably contributed a more watchful 56. 

Milnes made the ideal start to the day with two wickets inside the opening half hour of play, adding the scalp of nightwatchman Scott Currie to Handscomb. 

Both men edged behind to Jonny Tattersall playing loosely outside off-stump, leaving the score at 177-7 in the 52nd over.

Play had started under floodlights due to an overcast sky, but they quickly became redundant as the sun broke through. 

As many Yorkshire fans would have feared, Mike then proved a thorn in their side, the 25-year-old opting to leave Headingley to return to the East Midlands one year into a three-year contract.

His move back home was for greater opportunity in Championship cricket having only played twice in this format for Yorkshire, including once on loan at the back end of 2022.

Ben Mike

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Ben Mike hits out en-route to 90 today.

When Mike did play for Yorkshire, largely in limited overs cricket, the county didn’t see the best of him. He claimed a best of 4-40 with the ball and hit a best of 30 with the bat.

But it was clear that Mike is a very talented cricketer, and one who coach Ottis Gibson believes will progress in years to come. That’s why he originally signed him up to a long-term deal. 

But the Bajan couldn’t stand in his way when Mike asked for a release approximately five months ago.  

Mike shared 38 for the eighth wicket with Ben Cox, who had his off-stump uprooted by Fisher – 215-6 in the 63rd over – and the former then started playing more freely as he ran out of partners. 

He twice slog-swept Dan Moriarty’s left-arm spin over mid-wicket, the latter bringing up Leicestershire’s 250, and pulled George Hill for a third six en-route to a 56-ball fifty.

By that stage, the Foxes were 280-8. 

Matthew Fisher

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Matthew Fisher celebrates castling Ben Cox.

Mike pulled Milnes for another six, with thoughts of a century no doubt entering his head. But he just fell short. 

Ben Coad trapped Scriven lbw with the second new ball, ending a partnership which lasted the best part of 27 overs and was a Leicestershire record for the ninth wicket in first-class fixtures against Yorkshire. 

And 334-9 became 354 all out when Mike carved Milnes out to Fisher in the deep.

Mike had not been without luck. On 38, he offered a tough chance to Jordan Thompson running in from long-on having tried to hoist Moriarty over long-on. 

Moments later, he took advantage of the strong wind which swept through Headingley when another miscue was carried out of Thompson’s reach as he ran towards mid-wicket and initially looked well set to take the catch. 

Mike’s influence on the game continued as he claimed the two Yorkshire wickets to fall.

He had Bean caught behind for 10 – 45-1 in the 11th over – and Masood caught at second slip for nought in his next (47-2).

But Lyth’s innings was typically classy and drive-dominated, and he reached 12,000 career runs in the County Championship in the process.

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