Richard Levi plundered a blistering century for Northamptonshire, only for a lower order collapse to keep Glamorgan within touching distance after Day Two in Cardiff.
Levi struck 101 at better than a run a ball as the visitors cruised past Glamorgan’s total off 207 but, from 241-3, couldn’t convert their position into one of complete dominance, Michael Hogan with four wickets as they were bowled out for 310.
Despite the collapse, the first innings lead remained a sizeable 103, but the hosts had eaten into more than half their deficit in reaching 63-1.
Having been promoted to number four in the last two weeks, Levi was relieved afterward to reach three figures, having come close, including a 99 at Derby back in April.
“The last three times I’ve got close; I’ve got out in the 90s, so to get over the line was nice,” he said.
“It wasn’t the easiest out there but me and Rob [Keogh] stuck in. They started searching a bit so we got a few scoring shots to walk away with a hundred.
“I’m happy, but I’d rather have batted for another hour and got a big one.
“It’s a tricky one. It’s that kinda wicket: nothing happens for half session then four or five wickets fall. For a new guy coming in it’s not the easiest.
“We didn’t bowl as well as we should have, but think the guys will have learnt and comeback with better plans.
Morning rain delayed play by 90 minutes, but Northants were soon making up for lost time as they resumed 59-2 in reply to Glamorgan’s 207.
Levi had the one early life, pulling Lewis Carey hard to Kiran Carlson at midwicket, but the youngster wasn’t able to hang on, and the South African deposited the next ball Carey bowled to him over the midwicket boundary.
He also sliced Carey narrowly over third slip but, that apart, cut and pulled with authority as Glamorgan bowled too many loose balls, allowing the Northants’ third wicket pair to add 78 in the hour’s play before lunch. Rob Newton converted his 31 into a half-century, whilst Levi scored at better than a run a ball.
It was the ninth time Newton has passed 50 in the Championship this season, but the opener has only turned one into a century. He wouldn’t add a second as Glamorgan were rewarded for tightening their lines after the interval, Hogan trapping Newton LBW for 67.
Levi had previously gone to his 50 in 48 balls, and found another willing partner in Rob Keogh, but only after he had been reprieved, having skied a high full toss in Andrew Salter’s first over – brilliantly caught one handed by Craig Meschede only to be deemed a no-ball on height.
Salter’s five overs cost 31 as Northants, and Levi in particular, were soon back in full flow, the boundaries coming a little too easily for the hosts liking as Levi raced into the 90s.
He had been dismissed for 99 in a thrilling run chase at Derby back in April, but wouldn’t be denied an eighth career century – his third in a Northants shirt – driving Meschede through the covers for his 15thboundary, to go with the solitary six, coming up in 95 balls.
With the lead already secured, it appeared Northants were set to virtually bat Glamorgan out of the game, but Levi wouldn’t add to his 101, chasing a wide one from Carey behind.
It sparked a collapse that saw the last seven wickets fall for 69 runs.
Levi was the first of four for 19 either side of tea, de Lange getting Keogh LBW for 45 before captain Alex Wakely – batting at seven having spent the second half of Glamorgan’s innings off the field with a finger injury – only lasted three balls before Hogan rearranged his stumps.
Josh Cobb, who had been dropped at cover before tea, then chipped Hogan to mid-on and from a position of dominance Northants had slipped to 260-7.
Rory Kleinveldt’s 26, and a scrambled last wicket stand of 18, took the visitors over 300, and the lead into three figures. But the hosts will feel it should have been greater than 103 as Hogan finished with 4-58, de Lange also claiming three.
By the close the deficit had been halved, for the loss of just Nick Selman. Richard Gleeson took five yesterday, and needed only nine balls to get through the opener’s defences.
However, that would be their only breakthrough as Gleeson and Kleinveldt leaked runs and boundaries, 41 in eight overs between them. Although it wasn’t chanceless, as Jack Murphy top edged a hook off the former just over fine leg.
He and Jacques Rudoplh saw the hosts through to the close and, after the game looked to be slipping away from them, will resume only 40 behind and nine wickets still in hand.