Monday, July 1st, 2024

Day Two Highlights & Report – Durham v Worcestershire

Worcestershire all-rounder Nathan Smith is closing in on his career best performance after taking two more wickets on day two of the Vitality County Championship match with Durham at the Seat Unique Riverside.

Smith lifted his match tally to eight wickets and figures of 8-88 from 27.3 overs in a match that is evenly poised at the half-way stage with Durham on 148-9 in their second innings – a lead of 226 .

It has taken him to within one wicket of his most successful performance of 9-114 for Wellington versus Otago in the Plunket Shield in 2021-2022 when he had figures of 3-60 in the first innings and 6-54 in the second.

After 23 wickets fell on the first day, rain restricted play to 36 overs on day two.

The remainder of the four-pronged Worcestershire attack of Tom Taylor, Ben Allison and Matthew Waite also bowled with great discipline and with luck on their side could have wrapped up the innings by now.

Taylor, in particular, swung the ball around and finished the day on 4-46, including the prize wicket of Ben Stokes for 26 in the final over.

Now the objective will be pick up the final wicket early on the third day and then chase down what will be a challenging total on a still bowler-friendly pitch.

Play did not get underway on day two until 1.10pm after overnight rain and there were a possible 80 overs remaining when the players took the field.

Durham resumed on 33-3 – a lead of 111 – with two nightwatchmen at the crease in Matthew Potts and Peter Siddle.

The floodlights came on after one over and Taylor made the first breakthrough of the day when Siddle (3) attempted a drive and lost two of his stumps to a delivery which swung in.

Smith then accounted for Potts who was bowled after attempting a straight drive at 61-5.

David Bedingham, who was suffering from a hamstring injury, had a runner when he came to the wicket but the rain returned before he could face a ball.

The mini session had produced 28 runs for the loss of two wickets in 7.1 overs.

After a lengthy afternoon delay, play got underway again at 4.45pm with a possible 28.5 overs remaining in the day.

Smith and Taylor continued the attack and Bedingham edged the former wide of third slip and Taylor had a confident lbw shout against the Australian turned down.

But Smith struck for the fourth time to remove Bedingham on 17 when he went for a pull and was pouched by loanee Amar Virdi in the deep.

Ollie Robinson was fortunate when he top edged Smith over keeper Gareth Roderick for four to get off the mark.

But then Robinson (9) went to hook Allison and only picked out Waite at fine leg at 107-7 and Colin Ackermann (40) provided Roderick with a chest high catch off the persevering Taylor.

Taylor was also celebrating in the final over when he bowled Stokes (26) with a delivery which kept low.

Worcestershire bowler Tom Taylor said: “It’s a bowler friendly wicket and on that pitch it’s about being as disciplined as you can.

“It’s always better to be the bowling team when you have a rain break as switching on and off as batters can be tricky.

“The little rest allowed me and Nathan Smith the chance to keep going so that was quite helpful.

“The four seamers have gone really well and have kept chipping away and that’s been our plan, to try and be as disciplined as possible.”

On getting the night-watchmen out early, Taylor said: “It’s quite important as it can be quite dangerous as they are both decent batters and if they were able to hang around it would have got that ball older for the batters to come in and play shots.

“We’re going to have to bat really well and the target for us is to bowl them out as cheaply as we can.”