Brett D’Oliveira celebrated his first official match as Worcestershire Club Captain with a superb century on day two of the LV=Insurance County Championship encounter with Leicestershire at the Uptonsteel County Ground.
D’Oliveira masterminded a recovery from 32-3 to 348 all out, and then the Worcestershire attack reduced Leicestershire to 42-3 before rain, and bad light ended proceedings.
A cut for four off Beuran Hendricks in the third over with the second new ball took D’Oliveira to three figures during the afternoon session.
He punched the air, looked to the skies and then saluted his cheering team-mates on the dressing room balcony after reaching the milestone, his ninth first class hundred.
It was one of those memorable moments in Worcestershire’s history that Brett’s grandfather, Basil, and father, Brett, would have been proud of.
D’Oliveira came to the wicket in testing conditions for batting on Thursday evening at 32-3 under murky skies with the floodlights on and the ball nipping about.
He was still there unbeaten on 118 from 235 balls with one six and 16 fours when Worcestershire were finally dismissed and was congratulated by many of the Leicestershire players.
D’Oliveira was the rock around which Ed Barnard and Joe Leach were able to play with great enterprise and freedom during partnerships of 94 and 127, respectively, before gradually accelerating himself.
His first century since August 2020 was completed off 202 balls with 14 fours and one six, a mighty blow over long-on against spinner Callum Parkinson.
Worcestershire resumed on 118-4 from 26 overs, with D’Oliveira unbeaten on 34 and Barnard 41.
Barnard cover drove Beuran Hendricks for his ninth boundary to complete an excellent 65 ball century.
The fifth-wicket partnership was worth 94 when Barnard (57) went lbw in the first over of the day from Ed Barnes.
Ben Cox (6) pushed forward to the same bowler and was caught behind.
But Leach was full of positive intent from the start and reeled off a series of impressive drives, pulls and cuts in his first competitive knock since ending his six-year reign as Club Captain.
A single to third man off Ben Mike enabled D’Oliveira to complete a 106 ball half-century.
The morning session produced 87 runs from 30 overs for two wickets, but the sixth wicket pair accelerated after lunch.
Leach eventually departed when he swept at Leicestershire captain Colin Ackermann and picked out Barnes at deep mid-wicket. His 104 balls knock included ten boundaries.
Josh Baker (15) offered useful support and was at the wicket to congratulate him on reaching three figures before he was lbw to Barnes (15).
Thirty-five overs between lunch and tea produced 121 runs for just two wickets as Worcestershire continued their splendid recovery from yesterday’s testing start.
Mike wrapped up the innings after tea by bowling Charlie Morris (8) and having Dillon Pennington (2) caught behind.
Leach and Morris shared the new ball and quickly made inroads into the Leicestershire reply.
Sam Evans (1) played no shot to Leach and was bowled, and then George Rhodes (0) edged a delivery from Morris, which Barnard parried before Cox dived full stretch to complete a fine catch.
It became 6-3 when Hassan Azad (5) could only fend a Leach delivery to Baker at fourth slip.
Lewis Hill on 15 survived a chance to second slip off Morris before play was ended for the day.
Leach had figures of 5-1-12-2 and Morris 6-3-18-1.