Ed Barnard was delighted to be back amongst the wickets and expects Worcestershire’s LV=Insurance County Championship match with Middlesex at Lord’s to be the equivalent of a one innings shoot-out.
Barnard returned his season’s best figures of 4-43 as excellent bowling from the entire Worcestershire attack dismissed Middlesex for 144 after being put in to bat.
But a green pitch, in which the ball nipped around all day, was also a stiff challenge for the Worcestershire batsmen, and it needed an excellent 42 from Gareth Roderick to lift them to 113-8 plus support from the lower order.
This summer, Barnard, who is Worcestershire’s second highest run-scorer, said: “Bowling wise, it has been really frustrating for me.
“I’ve spoken to a couple of coaches about it at times. At times it hasn’t quite clicked, and the rhythm has not been there.
“I’m trying hard to get it back to where it has been the last couple of years, and it was nice to get some wickets.
“It has been difficult at times, but hopefully, it can be a turning of the corner, and I can get a few more wickets in the last two games.”
Eighteen wickets tumbled in just 84 overs, and Barnard is not anticipating much change in conditions during the rest of the match.
He said: “It is one of those days. The pitch is a bit spicey and done a bit, and sometimes on day one, it can happen quite quickly.
“I thought we bowled really well as a four. Everyone contributed nicely and put the ball in a good area consistently, which we’ve lacked at times this year.
“The way we backed it up was really good. The lads kept coming back.
“It was always going to be tough the first part of the innings with the bat. Obviously disappointed with the start we did make, but we scrapped really well and got close to them.
“Hopefully, we will continue that tomorrow; get somewhere level and it’s a one innings match hopefully, so it’s going to be a bit of a scrap.”
Barnard was full of praise for Roderick’s knock in what has been a challenging first season at New Road.
He said: “You’ve got two high class bowlers in Tim Murtagh and Ethan Bamber, and the clouds seemed to roll in just as we went out to bat.
“It was tough, difficult, we lost wickets, which you don’t want to do, but I thought Gareth (Roderick) was exceptional.
“Things haven’t quite gone his way this year, but he has trained hard and kept fighting and that 40 could be crucial in the context of the game.
“We are all pleased for him, and then Joe (Leach), Charlie (Morris) and Josh (Baker) down the order got runs, and in the context of the game, they are massive.
“We are still very much in the game and looking to push on and get somewhere near them tomorrow.
“If we can get a 10-15 run lead, it could be crucial, but everyone sees it for what it is.
“It has been tough today. I don’t think it will be that much easier going forward. I’m not sure the pitch will change too much, and hopefully, we can bowl them out cheaply again.”