Friday, July 29th, 2016

County Bowlers Stick To Their Guns Against Tourists

Ed Barnard, Alex Hepburn and Alexei Kervezee all picked up one wicket as Worcestershire stuck to their guns with the ball on day one of the tour match with Pakistan at New Road.

The tourists were put into bat and reached 260-3 declared from 80 overs.

Barnard posed problems in his three spells and gave another demonstration of his potential after putting on an extra yard of pace this summer.

There were also some more encouraging signs from his new ball partner Charlie Morris after his return to senior action during the past two weeks.

Spinner George Rhodes was also able to enjoy a lengthy spell of bowling in his first red ball appearance for the County and would have learnt a lot from testing himself against international class players.

Worcestershire openers Daryl Mitchell and Tom Fell safely negotiated 11 overs as Worcestershire reached 30-0 by the close with both unbeaten on 14.

The County rested vice-captain Joe Leach and keeper Ben Cox, who have both played every match this season, plus all-rounder Brett D'Oliveira who has signed a new three year contract.

Joe Clarke had recovered from a slight side strain and took over behind the stumps.

Barnard and Morris shared the new ball and both bowled tight probing spells to the Pakistan opening pair of Sami Aslam and Shan Masood.

Alex Hepburn and Jack Shantry continued in the same vein and it was 14 overs before the first boundary via a lofted on drive from Aslam off the latter.

It was Hepburn, who has been skippering the who made the first breakthrough when Aslam (17) nicked a delivery to Tom Kohler-Cadmore at first slip.

Masood started to flourish with two lofted cover drives for four off Rhodes and he pulled Barnard to the ropes on his return to the attack.

He went to his half century off 124 balls with five fours.

Azhar Ali on 33 had a slice of good fortune with a bottom edge off Hepburn which flew for four past slip and Masood when 52 swept Rhodes just past Morris backward of square.

But in between the pair played some fine strokes and Azhar brought up his fifty off 103 deliveries with seven fours.

Kervezee ended a stand of 124 in 37 overs when Masood (67) went down the wicket and edged through to Clarke.

Iftikhar Ahmed got off the mark with a straight six off Rhodes.

Azhar moved onto 81 before Barnard gained some tangible reward for his efforts by bowling him with a fine delivery which hit the top of off-stump.

Iftikhar Ahmad (41 not out) and Muhammad Rizwan (49 not out) added 80 in 19.5 overs before the declaration.

Barnard finished with 1-30 from 15 overs, Hepburn 1-49 from 15, Kervezee 1-38 from six while Morris bowled 10 overs for 19 runs, Shantry 10 for 30 runs and Rhodes 24 for 89 runs.