Sunday, May 10th, 2015

Bumpy: Early Wickets Vital To Keep Alive County Win Hopes In Derby

Bumpy: Early Wickets Vital To Keep Alive County Win Hopes In Derby

Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes says it is vital Worcestershire pick up early wickets on the third morning to bolster their hopes of winning the LV = County Championship derby with Warwickshire at Edgbaston.

Rhodes believes the failure of the Worcestershire batsmen to successfully negotiate the new ball after bowling Warwickshire out for 264 was a key factor on the second day.

It means Warwickshire will resume with an overall lead of 220 and eight second hand wickets in hand.

Rhodes expects the ball to turn and he can call upon international duo Moeen Ali and Sachithra Senenayake to try and exploit the conditions.

He said: "You are always in this game. If we get get the remainder of these wickets down for another 80, 90, 100 runs, which is possible, and we bat well then we are still in this game.

"Ian Botham taught us all in our dressing room that you are never out of a game of cricket and you've got to believe that you can win and we definitely can.

"But we need to pick up some wickets quite quick in the morning and really get into them.

"The pitch will turn. It is starting to turn a bit now. There are quite a lot of footholes from (Keith) Barker particularly.

"There have been quite a lot of feet go on that wicket so there will be a few stud marks that it will probably turn from."

Joe Leach completed career best figures of 6-73 as Warwickshire quickly lost their last two wickets after resuming on 258-8.

But then the unfortunate run-out of Daryl Mitchell – after Chris Wright deflected the ball onto the stumps at the non striker's end – started a collapse to 49-5 with Wright and Keith Barker claiming two wickets apiece.

Tom Fell (36), Ben Cox (45) and Leach (18) led a partial recovery but Worcestershire were bowled out for 149 before Warwickshire reached 105-2 by the close – a lead of 220.

Rhodes said: "A tough day at the office today? Yes it was. I was really pleased to get their last two wickets early on this morning and I thought the momentum was definitely with us.

"I was trying to look at where the momentum went away from us and I look back on the flick by the bowler onto the stumps for the run-out of Daryl Mitchell and then things seemed to get worse for us.

"Most of our batters being five down for not many (49) will be disappointed with that.

"They knew that the onus was on those guys to try and get us through that new ball, blunt that attack and then make life a little bit easier with guys who were established at the crease to score some runs.

"That didn't happen. There was a little bit of a fightback with Joe Leach and Coxy but sadly for us we had a big deficit.

"Warwickshire have played quite well. We shouldn't take that away from them. I thought we bowled quite well and they batted quite well to get to nearly 260 and I think they bowled quite well in our first innings.

"But sadly for us, it is difficult to recover from losing five or six wickets so quickly and most of our batsmen were sadly in the tent and that's the place they don't want to be.

"They don't go out there meaning to get out and there is a lot of pride in what they do as professional batsmen.

"But they also know their job, and their job was to very much blunt that new ball and set up a reasonable position for us with the bat but sadly it is not to be."

Rhodes had sympathy for the manner of Mitchell's dismissal.

He said: "He was unlucky to get out in that fashion, and I've been out twice like that myself.

"You want to back up because you want to rotate the strike, right and left handers, and put a little bit of pressure on the opposition with quick singles.

"Richie (Oliver) hits a nice ball and he hit it as sweet as a nut and unluckily for Mitch the bowler got a little bit of a finger tip end to it and Mitch is just short of his crease.

"They are unlucky dismissals and they go for you some days and against you some other days."

Warwickshire bowling coach and former Worcestershire paceman Alan Richardson said: "The guys bowled pretty well and have put us in a strong position in the game but I don't think they have fully hit their straps yet this season.

"They set themselves very high standards and while we have bowled very well in patches in this match, collectively the guys can get better.

"With that in mind, it is encouraging that we have taken full bowling points in all our games so far, especially as this is the first pitch we have played on which has given bowlers much assistance.

"It is great to have an attack with such good balance and depth. It allows us to spread the workload. Boyd Rankin has only bowled six overs in this match so should be nice and fresh for Worcestershire's second innings."