Worcestershire CCC opener Daryl Mitchell was delighted to be back amongst the runs – with a little help from a piece of chewing gum!
Mitchell hit his first century of the season to help Worcestershire reach a formidable 415-8 on day three of the LV=Insurance County Championship derby against Warwickshire at New Road.
It was the 38th of his career for Worcestershire, and, with Ed Barnard scoring a superb 98 not out batting at number six, it moved the first innings total past Warwickshire’s 395 all out on a flat pitch.
Mitchell said: “Does a hundred feel just as good? It probably feels better than some of them, given the start to the year I’ve had.
I’ve been short of runs. There is no getting away from that fact, so it’s nice to get in on a pretty good wicket and get over that three figures.
“It always goes in swings and roundabouts. It has been particularly difficult this year. There has been no opportunity this year to reset and start again.
“We’ve played nine back to back Championship games. There was no break to go away and work on anything and change your mindset.
“We’ve had a bit of a block of T20 cricket which freed the arms up a bit, and I’ve come back a little refreshed this week, and fortunately, it’s paid off.”
Mitchell added: “Did I do anything differently? Not really. If I’m honest, I haven’t felt out of form all year. I’ve been hitting the ball well in the nets.
“Unfortunately, it hasn’t turned into runs in the middle. I did have some chewing gum yesterday for the first time. I don’t know if that has had any effect.
“It’s the first time I’ve chewed it all year. I’ve done it in the past, and sometimes I feel it has helped with a bit of rhythm (concentration).
“I got off to a bit of a flier. I found a few balls in the right areas, which I was able to put away, which was nice.
“As the new ball wore off and it got a bit softer, it was more difficult to score and a case of occupying the crease and batting as long as I could.
“If you do that, runs will eventually come.”
Mitchell is hoping he can continue the same sort of form when Championship cricket returns at the back end of the season.
He said: “I’m enjoying my cricket. I’ve played well today. There are four big four-days games in September, so hopefully, I can get a couple more hundreds and show everyone what I can do.”
Mitchell has moved into the top six of the County’s century-makers.
He said: “Another proud moment to get into the top six. Let’s see if I can get to number five and then four.
“I will try and score as many hundreds as I can. That’s what my game has been based around my whole career, to try and get in and stay in and make those big scores.”
Mitchell was full of praise for Barnard, who needs just two more runs to complete his second hundred of the summer, and the resilience of tail-ender Adam Finch in helping him add an unbroken 91.
He said: “Ed has been fantastic with the bat for us all year and rightfully got his chance to bat up the order.
“He has played very well and justified that selection in the top six.
“Adam works pretty hard on his batting, to be fair, as they all do, putting in a lot of hours in the winter on the machines.
“It was nice to see it come to fruition today. I thought he played well, played very straight and made the bowlers work hard.”
As for the chances of a positive result on the final day, Mitchell said: “We will try and get a bit more of a lead and if we get a couple of wickets with the new ball, and with Ish (Sodhi) on a wearing pitch, hopefully, we can put them under a bit of pressure.
“It is probably unlikely. The pitch has got a lot slower and harder to score on. But, if we can do the right things, then hopefully we can force something out of it.”