Joe Leach capitalised on Ed Barnard’s superb century with a deadly three-wicket burst for Worcestershire at the climax of a thrilling opening day in the LV=Insurance County Championship match with Glamorgan at New Road.
Leach marked his return from a lay-off with a back injury by ripping out David Lloyd, nightwatchman James Harris and Colin Ingram with the new ball.
His efforts reduced Glamorgan to 32-3 by the close after Barnard’s 131 had helped rescue Worcestershire from 63-5 and total 271 all out.
Barnard was full of praise for Leach’s efforts on his return from missing the last three Championship games with a back problem.
The all-rounder said: “It is a really good cricket wicket. It is probably the best pace and carry I’ve seen on a Worcester pitch for a long time.
“That keeps everyone in the game. If the bowlers put the ball in good areas, nicks will carry, but you can also play your shots, and that is what has contributed to the entertaining cricket today.
“Once the ball gets softer, it doesn’t quite react as quickly or quite as explosively, but there were still balls in it all along.
“Joe Leach utilised it so well and showed the skill set he has got in using those conditions to his favour.
“You know what Joe has done for this club over the last few years, and we know what he is about, so it was nice to see him fully fit and firing and bowling spells like that, which we know he can do.
“He contributes hugely to our team and makes us a much better team.
“Joe bowls that really attacking and aggressive length. He attacks the wicket, so he is always going to be in the game, especially when the pitch is doing a bit.”
Gareth Roderick also played a key role in making 46 as he and Barnard put on 120 in 40 overs for the sixth wicket.
It followed on from his important knock on the final day of the drawn game at Durham, which ensured Worcestershire avoided the follow on and earned a draw.
Barnard said: “It was nice to bat with Gareth again for a while, and I was pleased for him. He played really nicely and deserved a bigger score.
“Gareth has been really impressive the last couple of weeks. We had the partnership at Durham, and even the last day of that game, he played really maturely and showed all his experience there.
“Today, he got a good ball. Hopefully, that big score is just around the corner for him. We are all desperate for him to do well.”