Coles impresses in Hampshire win

Matt Coles starred with bat and ball as Hampshire returned to the top of Division Two with an easy 278-run over Leicestershire at Grace Road.

The former Kent all-rounder plundered a quick-fire 83 in the visitors' second innings, then claimed three for 24 with the ball as the Foxes slipped to a first defeat of the season.

Hampshire had briefly been replaced at the top of the table when Worcestershire completed a three-day victory over Essex on Tuesday, but leapfrogged their promotion rivals after claiming 22 points from this match.

The away side led by 342 overnight but elected to bat on first thing on Wednesday morning, Coles striking some lusty blows to extend their advantage to 374 before being stumped by Niall O'Brien off the bowling of Jigar Naik.

That prompted visiting captain Jimmy Adams to declare with the score on 338 for nine, setting the Foxes 375 for victory from a minimum of 91 overs.

But, despite taking 21 from the first two overs, the hosts never looked like getting near their target once Kyle Abbott struck twice in as many balls at the start of his second over and they were eventually dismissed for a paltry 96 shortly after lunch.

Angus Robson edged behind for a duck to a delivery that rose sharply, then South African Abbott trapped Ned Eckersley leg before first ball.

Leicestershire captain Ramnaresh Sarwan made 15 before being deceived by James Tomlinson's change of angle - the left-armer coming round the wicket and pinning the West Indian lbw.

Danny Briggs extracted sharp turn from the slowing fourth-day wicket - one ball spinning past first slip for byes - before Josh Cobb missed one coming forward to fall lbw for four.

Coles then wrecked any remaining ambition the home side might have harboured by taking two wickets in the last over before lunch.

First O'Brien fell to a brilliant return catch by the bowler, then Rob Taylor became the fourth player to be out for a duck in the innings when his thin edge down the leg side was taken by tumbling wicketkeeper Michael Bates.

The procession of wickets continued after the break; Coles snaring opener Smith lbw for 39 and Briggs having Naik caught at second slip by James Vince.

England left-arm spinner Briggs then bowled Anthony Ireland and Nathan Buck to wrap up proceedings and finish with figures of four for 13, leaving Leicestershire winless in the Championship since September 2012.