Tuesday, September 5th, 2017

Barnard Again Amongst Wickets As Worcs Seize Control At Trent Bridge

All-rounder Ed Barnard again impressed with the ball as Worcestershire enjoyed a successful opening day of the Specsavers County Championship promotion clash with leaders Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

Barnard ripped out Jake Libby, Cheteshwar Pujara, Samit Patel and Riki Wessels during the afternoon session as Nottinghamshire slipped from 79-1 to 188-9 before heavy rain halted proceedings shortly before 5pm.

It continued the fine form he had shown against Gloucestershire when he returned career best figures of 4-23.

Barnard has now taken 37 Championship wickets at 25.35 in addition to scoring 420 runs at 32.30.

Skipper Joe Leach and Josh Tongue also picked up two wickets apiece as Worcestershire secured maximum bowling points in just 47.5 overs.

Bowling coach Mat Mason told BBC Hereford-Worcester’s Dave Bradley: “I think we’ve had a good day. If we were to analyse it accurately, we’d say for the first hour with the ball we weren’t quite as good as we could have been.

“But this group of bowlers, as they often do, fought really hard to put things right, hung in there and got their rewards and at the end of the day, we are pretty happy.

“Sometimes it is tempting when you see a wicket with a tinge of green to try a little bit too hard rather than just set into a top of off stump line and length. We  just chased it a bit in the first hour.

“But, coming off for a rain break, the guys acknowledged the fact. You didn’t have to say much to them. They knew they hadn’t quite nailed it.

“They did their best to put it right but we’ve still got that one wicket to get first thing in the morning and then hopefully a good solid day’s batting to follow.

“Barny is doing really well, whether it is with the bat or the ball. He’s producing some great performances and I just want him to get that wicket to complete his first five-for which he thoroughly deserves.”

Play did not get underway until 1pm and Leach unsurprisingly exercised the right to bowl first.

Leach made the first breakthrough as he squared up Steve Mullaney (7) with a delivery which hit the top of off-stump.

Libby and Pujara scored freely either side of two brief rain delays before Barnard sent the wickets tumbling.

He ended a stand of 69 in 17 overs between Libby (34) and Pujara when the former nicked through to Cox who parried the ball to Daryl Mitchell who made no mistake at second slip.

Barnard struck again in the same over and again found the edge as Pujara (28) was safely pouched by Cox.

Cox then excelled with a superb one-handed catch low to his right after Samit Patel (14) was undone by Barnard.

The former England Under-19 player then bowled Riki Wessels for a duck.

Tongue got in on the wicket-taking act as Alex Hales (28) fell victim to a shoulder high catch by Mitchell at second slip.

Chris Read, in his final match at Trent Bridge before retiring, survived one chance on eight off Tongue.

But the paceman picked up Read’s wicket when, after making 26, he perished to a sharp return catch at 171-7.

With dark skies closing in, Worcestershire made two more breakthroughs.

Brendon Taylor (33) was lbw to Leach after shuffling across his stumps and then the next delivery accounted for Brett Hutton (4).

New batsman Jake Ball called Hutton through for a single after playing the ball to backward point but he was run out by Barnard’s direct hit when well out of his ground.

Within minutes heavy rain engulfed the ground.