Saturday, May 7th, 2022


Joe Leach led a rearguard action by Worcestershire, which earned them three batting points on day three of the LV=Insurance County Championship.

The all-rounder came to the wicket at 150-6 yesterday evening and shared in half-century partnerships with Ben Cox and Josh Baker to continue the recovery started by Brett D’Oliveira and Ed Barnard.

Leach was finally dismissed for 62 in an innings of similar responsibility to his 70 against Leicestershire in the opening match.

Adam Finch and Ben Gibbon then continued the defiance in battling through nearly 20 overs for the final wicket and securing that extra batting point.

But equally as importantly, they helped put additional overs into the legs of the Durham bowlers, and, as a result, the visitors chose not to enforce the follow on.

A second century of the game from Sean Dickson lifted Durham to 170-1 declared as they adopted a T20 approach to proceedings.

Worcestershire were set a 442 target and will start the final day tomorrow on 85-2 from 22 overs.

They resumed on 159-6 in their first innings after losing 12 overs yesterday evening to bad light, and Cox and Leach continued their seventh-wicket partnership.

It followed on from the 100 stand by Club Captain, D’Oliveira, and Barnard after losing four early wickets.

A single to Cox off new England Test captain Ben, Stokes brought up the half-century stand for the seventh wicket.

The partnership was worth 54 when Cox (21) went to drive Matthew Potts and was caught behind with the total 204-7.

Leach had scored a fine 70 in helping lead a recovery at Leicestershire in the opening game, and he made another important contribution.

He turned Stokes off his hips for four, and a late cut against spinner Liam Trevaskis produced another boundary.

Josh Baker provided solid support to the all-rounder in another valuable stand.

He cover drove Chris Rushworth to the boundary and rocked back onto the back foot to turn Trevaskis square of the wicket for four.

Leach completed an excellent half-century from 92 balls when he swept Durham captain Scott Borthwick for his seventh four.

The stand was worth 62 from 17.5 overs when Baker (27) pushed hard at a delivery from Matt Salisbury and was caught low down at first slip.

By lunch, Leach had moved onto 62 out of 280-8, with the morning session yielding 111 runs from 30 overs for two wickets.

But he did not add to his interval total before being caught at second slip off Rushworth.

Then came a further hold-up to the Durham bowlers from Finch and Gibbon for 19.3 overs.

Gibbon (9) was eventually bowled by Rushworth after holding out for 59 balls to leave Finch unbeaten on 22 from 80 balls.

When Durham batted for a second time, Dickson struck eight sixes in his 105 before he was caught behind off Finch.

Worcestershire openers Ed Pollock and Jake Libby raced to 30 off 4.2 overs before Rushworth dismissed them in successive overs.

Pollock (10) was bowled by a fine delivery which straightened, and Libby (17) went lbw after looking to work on the leg side.

Worcestershire were then 35-2, but Jack Haynes and Azhar Ali batted impressively in posting a half-century partnership by the close.

Haynes was unbeaten on 26 and Azhar 23 not out.