Worcestershire Club Captain Joe Leach was full of praise for a typically fine knock from opener Daryl Mitchell and said that Worcestershire can only benefit from having other front-line batsmen also capable of delivering top-notch performances.
Mitchell hit his fourth half-century of the campaign in the LV=Insurance County Championship match against Warwickshire at New Road and was unbeaten on 83 out of 152-2 in reply to the visitors 395 all out.
He shared in an opening stand of 68 with Jake Libby, who has scored nearly 800 Championship runs this season, and then an unbroken 79 with Jack Haynes, who was unbeaten on 42 on his return to fitness.
Leach said: “I thought Daryl looked excellent. His feet moved really well, he was clinical on the bad ball, and he looked assured.
“To have his experience know-how how at the top firing is very important for us.
“It is a good wicket, and we hope Daryl can make it into a really big hundred tomorrow, and that will set up the game nicely.
“At times, Daryl has had to carry the brunt of the batting line-up.
“To have guys around him now, who he is confident in and are playing really well, can only help us.”
Haynes looked composed and assured in his first senior innings since his foot injury suffered in early June.
Leach said: “I watched him get 170 odd in the week for the Seconds at Nottingham, and he has just carried on in the same way.
“He is a fine talent, and hopefully, he can put a big score on the board.”
Leach believes the game is finely balanced at the halfway stage, and he was impressed with senior spinner Ish Sodhi and debutant slow left armer Josh Baker.
He said: “The day ended with the game evenly poised. I thought it started that way as well.
“It is a good wicket to bat on at the moment. It is obviously taking a little bit of turn, maybe slightly more as the game has progressed, and it’s been a very even contest up until now.
“We probably got a little bit of fortune, if we are honest, with the wickets of Pieter Malan and Dominic Sibley on Sunday evening.
“We had a really good period there of three wickets for 30, which, in the context of the wicket, was very good.
“I thought the way we bowled on Sunday was pretty good, and Ish (Sodhi) was outstanding.
“It is a tough ask for him to switch from the white ball in the T20 to come into the solitary red ball game. Really pleased for him.
“It was a hell of a ball he produced to Michael Burgess, so hopefully we see a bit more of that in the second innings – but hopefully not too soon as well!
“Josh (Baker), I’m really impressed with him. I’ve seen quite a bit of him over the past three or four weeks in the second team.
“He has had a reasonably steep growth over the last six to 12 months from where he was on the fringes of the Academy to progressing through to second-team cricket and then to make his first-team debut.
“I thought it was very exciting. He is another one of a large crop we have got.”
Leach bowled well without any tangible reward on day two and felt it was a summary of how his season has progressed.
He said: “I feel like I’m having one of those seasons, to be honest. I’m putting the ball in the right area quite a bit this year, and there have been missed half chances and close lbw calls etc.
“Look, I’m old enough to know these things happen in the game. Fingers crossed, the rewards come down the line.
“You have to take the rough with the smooth. I’ve had plenty of half volleys caught at square leg throughout my career, so I’m sure we will get our rewards in due course.
“That’s the game of cricket and ups and downs you have to deal with over the course of a career.”