Monday, September 26th, 2022


Worcestershire Club Captain, Brett D’Oliveira, battled away for three-and-quarter hours for a top score of 44 in challenging batting conditions on day one of the LV=Insurance County Championship match with Middlesex at New Road.

D’Oliveira showed great determination in helping to steer Worcestershire 167-8 from 68.5 overs on a day shortened by rain and then bad light.

It was a scrap for the Worcestershire batters all day to post a combative total on a greenish pitch which had previously been used for the Championship meeting with Sussex in April.

Jack Haynes, Azhar Ali and Ed Barnard all made useful contributions in trying to defy the quality of Toby Roland-Jones and Tim Murtagh with the ball.

Worcestershire will be hoping their own five-pronged seam attack can perform in a similar fashion to during last week’s superb victory over leaders Nottinghamshire.

Both teams and coaches formed a guard of honour before the start of play for umpire Nick Cook who is officiating in his final game before retirement.

Middlesex skipper, Tim Murtagh, put the home side into bat on a greenish pitch and the veteran seamer struck with the first delivery of the game.

Ed Pollock had been Worcestershire’s match-winner against Middlesex earlier in the season with 113 off 77 balls at Merchant Taylor’s School.

But he was undone by a ball of extra bounce after pushing forward and edged through to keeper John Simpson.

Murtagh and Roland-Jones, the leading wicket-taker in Division Two, skilfully exploited the seaming conditions as Jake Libby and new batter Haynes battled away.

Libby (4) was lbw to an in-swinging ball of full length.

Haynes produced the first aggressive shots of the day in off driving and pulling Roland-Jones for boundaries.

It was primarily a battle for survival and Azhar Ali scrapped away for one run off 33 balls before rain led to an early lunch with Worcestershire 26-2 off 16 overs.

The Pakistan Test player needed only three more balls to collect his first boundary with a straight drive off Ethan Bamber when play resumed at 1pm after an early lunch.

Roland-Jones struck for the second time when Haynes (20) found the hands of Sam Robson at second slip.

Azhar collected a cut and cover drive for boundaries after Ryan Higgins came into the attack.

He fought hard for two and a half hours in making 27 before he was leg before to a delivery from the same player, which nipped back in at 85-4.

Barnard then immediately looked in good touch.

The all-rounder profited from the cut shot with boundaries off Higgins and Ethan Bamber, and he and Brett D’Oliveira steered Worcestershire to 113-4 off 51 overs by tea.

Barnard was pouched at first slip after driving at Roland-Jones and Gareth Roderick, who had scored centuries in his previous two knocks, was the victim of a sharp catch at short leg off Murtagh.

D’Oliveira continued to show plenty of determination, but he was also keen to boost the total and collected two boundaries from drives in an over from Murtagh.

Matthew Waite, on loan from Yorkshire until he begins a three-year contract from October 1, struck some useful blows before he inside-edged a Higgins delivery onto the stumps.

D’Oliveira’s resistance was finally ended by Ethan Bamber with Robson collecting another chance at second slip shortly before the players left the field at 5.10pm.