Bracey double ton sets up Glos victory bid

James Bracey in action agaiunst Glamorgan
James Bracey’s 204 not out was only the 10th double century scored in county matches at Cheltenham [Getty Images]

Vitality County Championship Division Two, Cheltenham (day three)

Gloucestershire: 179 & 610-5 dec: Bracey 204*, Bancroft 184, Hammond 121, Webster 65*

Glamorgan: 197 & 222-3: Labuschagne 67*

Glamorgan (3 pts) need a further 371 runs to beat Gloucestershire (3 pts) with seven second-innings wickets standing

Match scorecard

A career-best 204 not out from James Bracey has set up Gloucestershire for a victory push over Glamorgan.

Needing to score a world record 593, or to survive 152 overs, Glamorgan start the final day on 222-3.

Marnus Labuschagne (67 not out) helped lead the visitors’ resistance.

Bracey’s fine knock saw Gloucestershire pummel their way to 610 for five declared.

Resuming on 388-3, it looked merely a question of when Gloucestershire would declare and they took a fairly conservative option in waiting until 40 minutes after lunch.

Bracey and Australia’s Cameron Bancroft took their stand to 253, a record for the Shire’s fourth wicket against Glamorgan and the highest fourth wicket stand on the College ground, before Bancroft nicked Andy Gorvin to Chris Cooke for 184.

Graeme van Buuren, who had had his pads on for hours, went straight away as he gave Chris Cooke his eighth catch of the match.

But that only brought Beau Webster in and the giant all-rounder proved a willing accomplice, swinging hard with 65 not out in a stand of 136.

Bracey passed his career-best 177 with a slog-sweep six off Mason Crane and with everyone on the boundary, proceeded smoothly towards his well-deserved double ton as he finished with 20 fours and four sixes.

As Glamorgan faced a marathon battle, a hostile spell from Marchant de Lange brought the home side their first success as Billy Root (46) top-edged a pull to fine-leg.

Labuschagne and De Lange enjoyed a high-quality duel, while Eddie Byrom (37) tried to dig in but played no shot to a ball from Ajeet Singh-Dale that nipped back and hit his off-stump.

Matt Taylor had Kiran Carlson caught behind for 13 to strengthen Gloucestershire’s grip.

But Sam Northeast (47 not out) joined Labuschagne to prevent further losses in the final 15 overs.

Gloucestershire’s James Bracey told BBC Bristol Sport:

“I’m very proud with such a big milestone, not many people get the opportunity to do it, I was really keen to take it on (to 200) once I got further down the line.

“Definitely it nipped around most on day one, but both teams got a bit of luck with the ball as well.

“We know it happens late (at Cheltenham) but we feel having made three key breakthroughs, if we get one or two more we can really get into them.”

Glamorgan’s Chris Cooke told BBC Sport Wales:

“Eddie and Billy got us off to a really good start, then Sam and Marnus batted really well and it should be a really good day.

“(The target) is down to 371 and it’s a case of chipping away, taking it hour by hour on a quick-scoring ground which it’s hard to defend.

“We’re going to have to bat very very well but we’ve got it in the locker. All three results are on the cards, but if we’ve got batters in towards the end, we’ll probably be close.”