Sunday, May 7th, 2023


Azhar Ali demonstrated all his class and experience with a brilliant century in helping Worcestershire to secure a share of the spoils from the LV=Insurance County Championship encounter with Sussex at New Road.

The Pakistan star shepherded Worcestershire to safety by batting throughout the final day for 103 not out.

He reached three figures with his 11th boundary from his 279th delivery in an innings spanning more than six hours.

The two sides immediately shook hands with Worcestershire on 251-8, a lead of 142.

Azhar had played a major role with a second innings 62 in the away win over Derbyshire and this was another invaluable knock in different circumstances.

Azhar combated the major threat posed by England pace bowler Ollie Robinson in an intriguing contest.

Robinson bowled superbly in returning his second seven wicket haul of the game and his career best match analysis of 45.4-10-116-14.

Azhar received excellent support from Adam Hose with his second excellent knock of the game.

It ensured Worcestershire ended the game with nine points, five for a draw, three for bowling and one for batting.

Worcestershire resumed on 34-1 – 75 in arrears – after the complete wash-out of the third day.

Robinson had taken seven wickets in the first innings and the England pace bowler again posed the biggest threat.

Ed Pollock pushed forward to a delivery which nipped away from him and Steve Smith held onto a chance at second slip.

Jack Haynes went for a drive and edged Robinson through to keeper Ollie Carter.

Hose, who had scored his maiden fifty for the club in the first innings, was quickly into his stride with cover drive and on drives for four at Sean Hunt’s expense.

Azhar demonstrated all his know how to combat the Sussex attack and he and Hose gradually upped the tempo and posted a half century stand in 15 overs.

Azhar completed an excellent 151 ball fifty after lunch when he cover-drove Fynn Hudson-Prentice for his fifth boundary. 

Robinson picked up his fourth wicket of the innings when Hose, on 41, was lbw to a delivery angled back in.

It ended a partnership of 88 in 28 overs with Azhar. 

Club Captain, Brett D’Oliveira, looked in good nick, flicking Henry Crocombe off his legs for four and cutting him for another boundary.

But Hudson-Prentice returned to have him caught behind at effectively 70-5.

The new ball was nine overs away when the players came out after tea and in an ideal world Robinson would have been rested until that juncture.

But Sussex needed wickets and he was straight back into the attack and completed his five-for when Gareth Roderick edged a lifter to second slip.

There was more joy for Robinson as Matthew Waite felt for a ball outside the off stump and Tom Alsop at first slip did the rest and he then bowled Joe Leach.

But Josh Tongue came in to stay with Azhar until he reached three figures.