Alan Richardson praised a crucial knock by Worcestershire Club Captain Brett D’Oliveira, and the determination of the other batters in bowler-friendly conditions on day one of the LV=Insurance County Championship match with Middlesex at New Road.
D’Oliveira dug in to combat a greenish pitch with seam movement and variable bounce in making 44 spanning three and a quarter hours after Worcestershire were put into bat.
Azhar Ali produced a similar innings with his 27 in two and a half hours against a high-quality attack, including Toby Roland-Jones, the leading wicket-taker in Division Two with 66 scalps, and Tim Murtagh.
With Jack Haynes and Ed Barnard also chipping in with important contributions, it enabled Worcestershire to post a competitive total of 167-8, given the challenges they had to face throughout a day shortened by rain and bad light to 68.5 overs.
Assistant Coach Richardson said: “A tough day? It always was going to be for the batters. Middlesex bowled brilliantly well at times and created lots of chances, putting us under lots of pressure.
“The boys stuck to their task. We will have to see and wait until both sides have batted on it, but at the moment, it looks quite a tough wicket to bat on.
“We should take great heart and great credit for batting as long as we have and putting together some partnerships.
“It was a tough start, but it showed the character of the boys that they were prepared to dig in and bat for long periods of time and showed great deals of patience.”
On the innings of D’Oliveira and Azhar, Richardson said: “What really stuck out with Brett was how calm he remained despite everything that was going on around him.
“That shows the measure of him. He has matured really well as a player and as a leader. Today, really hard-fought innings, but he stuck at it brilliantly well.
“It would have been nice for him to get his 50, but what was really crucial is that he put some miles into the Middlesex bowlers’ legs.
“With Azhar not a great surprise, the amount of character he showed in the innings.
“He trains unbelievably hard; he puts himself under a lot of pressure when he trains so when he comes up against surfaces like that, it doesn’t come as a great surprise.
“He had a plan about how he was going to go about his innings, and he did that really well for long periods of time.”
Worcestershire will be looking to eke out as many runs as they can from their final two wickets on Tuesday morning.
Richardson said: “We’ve got to aim to get as many runs as we can. The margins could be quite small in this game.
“It’s for the guys to put on as many runs as they can for the last two wickets and they potentially could be absolutely vital as the game goes on.
“It will be nice to get close to 200. That gives us something to bowl at and also gives us an opportunity to have the field set that we want for as long as possible.”