Thursday, April 7th, 2022


Worcestershire’s new Club Captain, Brett D’Oliveira, and Ed Barnard counter-attacked effectively on a shortened opening day in the LV=Insurance County Championship encounter with Leicestershire at the Uptonsteel County Ground.

The fifth-wicket pair came together in favourable conditions for seam and swing bowling under the floodlights and posted a half-century stand in just 9.5 overs.

Both of them survived a chance but, in between, played a stream of positive strokes in adding an unbroken 73 as Worcestershire closed on 118-4.

Barnard will resume on 41 not out tomorrow morning, with D’Oliveira unbeaten on 34.

Barnard: “It was a strange session, really. They started really well, and we lost a couple of early wickets, which can happen, maybe a few early season nerves in there, and, with the rain delay, it doesn’t make it easy to start.

“The way Brett came out and batted there, his first game as skipper, to show that determination and the leadership, was excellent, and it was nice for us to get a few runs and put the pressure back on them a little bit.

“Brett and I both naturally play quite quick tempo cricket. The pitch here allows that, a good cricket wicket.”

D’Oliveira opted to bat after winning the toss, and Pakistan star, Azhar Ali and Ed Pollock both made their debut for the County and received their caps in the dressing room before the scheduled 11am start.

But persistent showers meant play did not get underway until 4.10 with a scheduled 38 overs to be bowled.

Pollock, making his first ever Championship appearance, edged the opening delivery from Chris Wright wide of third slip for four.

Jake Libby began in a confident fashion with a straight drive for three off South African pace bowler Beuran Hendricks.

Pollock (5) went to leave a delivery from Wright, which swung back in and was bowled.

Azhar came to the wicket and got off the mark with a quick single off Hendricks.

But he added only one more run before being run out by bowler Hendricks after a mix up with Libby.

Jack Haynes produced a superb square drive to collect a boundary at Hendricks expense.

The former England Under-19 batter was then adjudged lbw on seven to a ball angled back in from Wright before another break for rain.

When the players returned, Libby turned Hendricks off his legs for a boundary and then deliberately steered another delivery from the same bowler to third man.

The opener made 27 from only 31 balls but was then caught in the crease and edged Wright to third slip.

D’Oliveira and Barnard, played positively during the closing stages of the day.

D’Oliveira cover-drove and straight drove Hendricks for boundaries, and Barnard produced two handsome strokes through the covers off Wright, both of which reached the ropes.

Ed Barnes replaced Wright after a nine over spell of 3-33, and in his first over, Barnard, on 21, was dropped at first slip.

The runs continued to flow, and Barnard completed the fifty stand when turning Barnes off his legs for his fifth four.