Brett D’Oliveira became the second Worcestershire CCC player to hit a pre-season century with his fine knock on the second day against Durham UCCE at Kidderminster.
D’Oliveira followed Riki Wessels’ ton against Somerset at Taunton by racing to three figures off just 116 balls with three sixes and ten fours in Worcestershire’s second innings.
Daryl Mitchell also hit a half-century as Worcestershire declared on 271-4 mid-way through the final session to set Durham a 330 target.
By the close, a run out by D’Oliveira plus a wicket apiece for Club Captain Joe Leach, Charlie Morris, and Mitchell had reduced Durham to 40-4
Worcestershire began their second innings this morning with a lead of 58 after bowling out Durham for 92 on the first day when 20 wickets fell.
Josh Dell, who did not feature in the first innings, opened the batting with Daryl Mitchell and the pair saw off the new ball pair of Alex Russell and Michael Booth, who picked up eight of the Worcestershire first-innings wickets between them.
There was less seam movement than yesterday, but some encouragement for the bowlers and Mitchell and Dell advanced the score to 45 before Dell, on 13, went to cut and was bowled by spinner Tom Price.
Mitchell scored freely, collecting boundaries off successive balls from Booth, and he grandly reached his half-century with a six over ‘cow corner’ off Tom Price.
It came from just 49 balls and included eight fours in addition to the one six. The players then departed the field because of rain, with Worcestershire 68-1 from 18.2 overs.
When they returned after a 27-minute break, Mitchell added two more runs to advance to 53 but, from the fourth ball after the resumption, he was lbw to Tom Price.
Gareth Roderick (nine not out) and Brett D’Oliveira (13 not out from 10 balls) advanced the total to 92-2 from 22 overs by lunch.
The third-wicket pair scored freely after the resumption, and D’Oliveira raised the hundred by lifting a delivery from Ollie Price over the ropes at deep mid-wicket.
Their partnership was worth 51 in just 9.5 overs when Roderick (26) was caught at mid-wicket off Booth.
Ben Cox joined D’Oliveira, and another substantial partnership materialised during the second half of the afternoon session.
They added 71 in 18.2 overs, with D’Oliveira completing his half-century off only 55 balls with five fours and a six.
The partnership was broken three overs before tea when Cox, having made 35 from 63 balls with four fours, edged Ollie Sheen through to keeper Simon Fernandes.
But D’Oliveira remained unbeaten on 65 out of 204-4 from 50 overs at the interval.
The all-rounder went into overdrive in the final session, hitting Booth for two fours and a six in one over.
A third six – off Sheen – took D’Oliveira onto 97, and he reached his hundred off Dominic Stuart with a cut to the third man boundary, at which point Leach declared.
D’Oliveira then immediately impacted the field in dismissing Sam Perry when Durham launched their reply against Leach.
Joe Cracknell played the delivery to D’Oliveira at point and called Perry through for a single, but D’Oliveira’s direct hit at the striker’s end led to his downfall.
There was a flurry of wickets in the final overs of the day.
Joe Cracknell (19) was lbw to Charlie Morris, and three balls later Chris Benjamin (13) was bowled by Leach.
Mitchell struck with the final delivery as Charlie Scott (1) had his stumps shattered.