Thursday, April 21st, 2022


Brett D’Oliveira struck his second century in two games since becoming Worcestershire Club Captain on the opening day of the LV=Insurance County Championship match with injury-hit Sussex at New Road.

The 30-year-old followed up his unbeaten 134 against Leicestershire at the Uptonsteel County Ground with another superb knock to steer his side to 338-5 from 96 overs by the close.

Opener Ed Pollock’s rapid 77 got the innings off to a flying start, and then D’Oliveira and Ed Barnard, who made 75, pressed home the advantage during a fifth-wicket partnership of 166.

Sussex, deprived of half a dozen players, stuck to their task on a wicket that was not straightforward for batting.

But D’Oliveira ended unbeaten on 106 from 230 balls with 12 fours, and Worcestershire will be looking to press on in the quest for maximum batting points tomorrow morning.

D’Oliveira opted to bat on winning the toss, and New Road looked a picture in warm sunshine with a sizeable crowd watching cricket at the ground in April for the first time in three years.

Worcestershire selected an unchanged side after impressing when coming so close to forcing victory in the opening game away to Leicestershire.

Pollock had scored a superb century in the second innings of that game, and he again looked in excellent form when opening with Jake Libby.

Stewart was struck for three boundaries in his first over by the left-hander.

Pollock had a slice of good fortune on 36 when he aimed a big hit against Stewart, and the ball was helped over the boundary for six by Burrows fielding at fine leg.

But he continued to play with great freedom and brought up a half-century off only 47 balls.

Libby, a century-maker in Worcestershire’s home win over Sussex last September, played a solid support role.

But the breakthrough came for the visitors when Libby, on 11, nibbled at a delivery from Sussex captain Tom Haines and Tom Alsop clung onto a low hard chance at slip.

There was warm applause for Pakistan Test star Azhar Ali as he made his way to the wicket on his home debut for Worcestershire.

Pollock continued to score rapidly, but after making 77, he forced a delivery from Haines off the back foot and was caught at backward point.

He faced just 74 deliveries and hit one six and 14 fours.

It became three wickets in four overs when Jack Haynes (2) flicked a delivery off his legs straight into the hands of square leg.

Azhar and D’Oliveira set about rebuilding the Worcestershire innings, and a cut for four by D’Oliveira brought up the 100 in 21.1 overs.

But after making 20, Azhar was lbw to a delivery angled back into him by Haines at 133-4.

D’Oliveira, who, like Pollock, was also a century-maker against Leicestershire, had a let-off on 19 when Alsop spilt a straightforward chance at first slip off Henry Crocombe.

But overall, he again looked in fine nick, and a back foot cover drive for four off Jamie Atkins was one of the day’s highlights.

A single off Stewart took the 30-year-old to his half-century from 82 balls with six boundaries.

Barnard had been the ideal ally when making 57 in launching a recovery with D’Oliveira at Leicester, and the pair again blossomed during the afternoon session.

The all-rounder showed his class with a delicate late cut for four off Tom Clark.

His fifty was completed off 73 balls with eight boundaries, and a 100 partnership with D’Oliveira came up from just 152 deliveries.

After tea, the fifth wicket pair consolidated Worcestershire’s position and increased their partnership to 166.

The second new ball brought about a breakthrough when Barnard was lbw to Stewart for 75.

D’Oliveira was made to work hard for his runs in the 90s, but a single off Crocombe took him to three figures off 216 balls with 11 boundaries.