Friday, May 15th, 2015

County Bowlers On Song Against Black Caps At New Road

County Bowlers On Song Against Black Caps At New Road

Worcestershire's bowlers provided a searching examination for the New Zealand batsmen after skipper BJ Watling had elected to bat at New Road.

Only Hamish Rutherford (75) offered prolonged resistance in his 140 ball knock before a ninth wicket stand of 70 between Doug Bracewell (43) and Neil Wagner – the highest of the innings.

The Black Caps declared once Bracewell had been dismissed on 261-9 in what is their final game before the first Test with England at Lord's starting next Thursday.

An excellent crowd greeted the tourists after the disappointment of the first day wash-out and saw an on-song county attack in action.

Charlie Morris, Ross Whiteley and England's Moeen Ali all collected two wickets for the home side.

Chris Russell, Jack Shantry and England Under-19 all-rounder Ed Barnard, who was given an opportunity after impressive pre-season and second eleven form, were the other wicket-takers.

Worcestershire were left 24 overs batting after tea and Richard Oliver made a quickfire 30 before edging Wagner to third slip with 40 on the board.

Moeen off drove Bracewell for his first boundary while Worcestershire skipper Daryl Mitchell again dug in after his defiant and determined 38 in four hours against Warwickshire at Edgbaston.

By the close Worcestershire had moved onto 65-1 with Mitchell on 15 and Moeen 20.

Tom Latham and fit again Martin Guptill (side strain) opened the batting for New Zealand against the new ball attack of Morris and Joe Leach.

In form keeper Ben Cox had two appeals for legside catches against Latham turned down off Morris but the same combination accounted for the left-hander after he pushed forward when on seven out of 8-1.

Morris and Joe Leach troubled Guptill and new batsman Rutherford.

Rutherford picked up a fortunate three after aiming to work Leach through mid-wicket and seeing the ball end up nearly at the cover boundary off a leading edge.

Morris also had an lbw shout against Guptill rejected and a false shot from Rutherford saw the ball fly up onto the off side.

Guptill was full of attacking intent and hooked Leach for six and then straight drove Shantry for four and six.

But Shantry had the last word as a slower ball deceived Guptill (35) and the ball lobbed onto Tom Kohler-Cadmore at mid on with New Zealand 76-2.

Barnard did not look overawed during his first senior bowl from the New Road.

But it was Whiteley who made the third breakthrough when Ross Taylor (12) aimed a drive and Cox collected his second catch.

New Zealand were then 96-3 and had moved onto 101-3 off 29 overs by lunch with Rutherford unbeaten on 40.

Rutherford reached his half century off 82 balls with his third boundary off Morris.

But Morris struck for a second time when New Zealand captain BJ Watling was caught behind for two.

Russell then got in on the wicket-taking when Luke Ronchi was undone by a ball that climbed on him and he was safely pouched at second slip by Worcestershire skipper Daryl Mitchell.

There was warm applause for Moeen when he came onto the field – and the England spinner picked up two wickets in the space of three overs.

Rutherford, having made 75 off 140 balls with five fours, came down the wicket to Moeen and was stumped by Cox.

Then Craig (17) fell to a fine catch by Whiteley at short cover off Moeen for 17.

Moeen returned the compliment when Matt Henry (8) chipped a Whiteley delivery straight into his hands at mid on with New Zealand 191-8.

Bracewell adopted an aggressive approach after tea and his 64 ball knock contained one six and six fours before he edged Barnard through to Cox who claimed his fifth dismissal of the innings.