Ben Cox praised the “nerves of steel” shown by Worcestershire CCC centurion Ed Barnard in leading a recovery on day two of the LV=Insurance County Championship match with Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.
Barnard came to the wicket with Worcestershire 32-4 and in danger of suffering a two-day defeat after Stuart Broad’s rapid 45 earned the home side a lead of 107.
But the all-rounder added 67 with Jack Haynes and then an unbroken 126 with Cox, who battled his way to 51 not out by the close at 225-5 – an overall lead of 118.
Cox said: “The position we were in….it didn’t go to plan first up. We could have been tighter with the ball. Yes, we got the wicket in the first over, but Stuart Broad counter-attacked very well.
“We could have taken a chance and got off the field a little bit earlier, but sometimes it can be hard to bowl at the tail.
“You might say we got carried away with the short stuff, but we created two chances we ultimately didn’t take, but the way we batted there….let’s be honest, we were up against it.
“Jack (Haynes) played a hell of a knock just to take the sting out of it, and then the main man, Ed Barnard, just had nerves of steel, really.
“He was so calm at the crease. I enjoy batting with him for that reason. You can tell that from how late he plays the ball, a sign of calmness, nerves of steel and a bit of grit.”
Barnard and Cox had to cope with some short-pitched bowling from Broad before steering their side through to the close.
Cox said: “You have to go through the stages of taking the barrage of short-pitched bowling with the short-pitched fields, but that is just the cycle of batting.
“If you are frustrating the bowling attack, that is just going to happen, especially with someone like Stuart Broad in the team.”
Cox was delighted to make a return to form at a crucial time.
He said: “The first target when I went out there was to get in front. I just knew if I trusted my defence, and tried to play it late, and just tried to occupy the crease.
“I was getting comments left, right and centre because it is not usually
the way I play, to try and bat 150 balls for 50, but it was the method I chose early doors.
“I was thinking last night about going the other way and counter-attacking but I felt the way I played, the situation today needed the long gritting innings, to try and grind it out.”
As for the plans for day three, Cox said: “The target is to get in first and then assessing targets. The new ball is only four overs old. We’ve got to look up at the conditions in the morning, hopefully it is clear like today, and it will be a great sign for us.
“But if it is overcast, we just have to grind. The pitch has got slower but what is good news is they are talking about 200 looks tricky to chase in terms of the verbals on the field.”