Worcestershire CCC bowlers stuck to their task and were rewarded with four wickets in the final session on day one of the two-day red ball friendly with local rivals Warwickshire CCC at Edgbaston.
Dillon Pennington made the initial breakthrough before lunch after the home side had taken first knock. Then Brett D’Oliveira, Ross Whiteley, Ed Barnard and Pennington – with his second wicket – enjoyed some tangible reward for their efforts post tea.
Warwickshire closed on 315-5 from 96 overs and tomorrow it will be Worcestershire’s turn to bat through the entire day in their final warm-up fixture before Saturday’s Bob Willis Trophy opening fixture against Gloucestershire at Bristol.
It was another opportunity for the Worcestershire attack to get some overs into their legs and hone their skills after last week’s three-day intra-squad friendly at Worcestershire.
Although he did not take a wicket, Josh Tongue bowled impressively and deserved some tangible reward for his efforts.
Assistant Coach-Bowling Coach Alan Richardson said: “It was a hugely important day and there was lots of invaluable experience to be gained.
“We’ve had a good build-up in terms of practicing and playing in our own environment but this was a good opportunity against a side who have played a lot of good red ball cricket.
“It was good to get 96 overs in, we learned a lot about ourselves and all the bowlers can take confidence and heart in the way they competed against some really good players.
“We had aspects of our game where we were in control and able to exert pressure on their batters and the guys stuck at it brilliantly well.”
There were 1,000 socially distanced spectators allowed into the ground.
Worcestershire Club Captain, Joe Leach, delivered the first over to a field setting including four slips from the Birmingham End with Pennington sharing the new ball.
The opening pair gave a searching examination to Warwickshire openers, Rob Yates and Will Rhodes, before being replaced after six and four overs respectively by Charlie Morris and Tongue.
The fielding side sanitised their hands at the boundary edge every six overs in keeping with current procedures.
All of the County’s front-line pacemen had a bowl during the morning session with Barnard the fifth bowler to be used and Pennington returning for a second spell in which he made the first breakthrough.
Rhodes on 41 aimed an aggressive blow and nicked through to the safe hands of keeper Ben Cox with the total on 71 in the 25th over.
Lunch was taken at 93-1 off 31 overs with Leach having figures of 7-0-17-0, Pennington 7-2-26-1, Morris 5-1-17-0, Tongue 5-2-11-0 and Barnard 6-2-20-0.
Yates retired not out on 38 and was replaced for the restart after lunch by Ian Bell with Leach and Tongue resuming the attack for Worcestershire.
Bell on 30 survived a confident appeal for a catch behind the wicket off the returning Pennington
Spin was introduced for the first time with D’Oliveira entering the attack for the 51st over.
Bell completed his half century off 86 balls with six fours as Warwickshire went into tea at 186-1 from 61 overs.
At that juncture Leach had figures of 12-4-18-0, Pennington 12-3-50-0, Morris 12-2-37-0, Tongue 11-4-24-0, Barnard 9-2-34-0 and D’Oliveira 5-0-17-0.
There were two new faces at the crease entering the final session in Lamb and Burgess.
D’Oliveira picked up his first wicket when Lamb (18) came down the wicket and was caught at extra cover by Jack Haynes.
Whiteley then struck with his second delivery of the day as Tim Bresnan (28) was safely pouched at point by Barnard.
It became three wickets in the space of 11 overs as Burgess (57) lofted Barnard into the hands of Leach at mid-on.
Pennington returned for one final spell and in the 94thover of the day bowled Alex Thomson (5).
Worcestershire Club Captain, Joe Leach, said: “It was a good exercise ahead of Saturday. Obviously the preparation for Saturday has been a bit different to what you would normally expect in a March-April type scenario.
“But to get two days here on a really good cricket wicket against a good side has been a really worthwhile exercise for us and large parts of what we have done has been very pleasing.
“Daryl (Mitchell) has started well and to be honest the batting group in general have shaped up very nicely over the preparation period we’ve had, the intra-squad game last week on a good batting wicket and this game.
“In general, guys have spent good time at the crease and the bowlers have got overs in the legs and everyone is raring to go for Saturday.”
Yates retired not out 38
Rhodes c Cox b Pennington 41 (1-71 25th over)
Hain retired not out 49
Bell retired not out 52
Lamb c Haynes b D’Oliveira 18 (2-232 72nd)
Burgess c Leach b Barnard 57 (4-293 87th)
Bresnan c Barnard b Whiteley 28 (3-283 82nd)
Thomson b Pennington 5 (5-301 94th)
Miles not out 11
Sidebottom not out 7
Total (for 5 wickets) 315