Joe Leach praised the discipline and control demonstrated by the Worcestershire bowlers on day two of the LV=Insurance County Championship match with Gloucestershire at Cheltenham.
Leach picked up three wickets in a deadly burst either side of tea to lift his tally to 39 for the campaign.
But all of their bowlers stuck to their task on a wicket lacking in pace and restricted Gloucestershire to 212-4 from 75 overs, below three runs an over compared to Worcestershire’s 406 all out from 90.5 overs at nearly four and a half runs per over.
Their efforts followed on from 90 by Club Captain Brett D’Oliveira and a career best 75 from Josh Baker before Adam Finch and Dillon Pennington also added useful runs.
Leach said: “A pretty good day I think. We were 260-7 overnight so to get over 400 was a fantastic effort from the guys at the back end of the order and Brett (D’Oliveira) in particular.
“Dolly and Josh Baker both played outstandingly well, capitalised on bad balls, put them under pressure.
“We’ve obviously scored at a much faster rate than they have so far.
“Excellent from both of them and hopefully a good start of a run of form for Brett moving into the latter part of the season.
“With the ball, by and large we’ve been very good, very disciplined and controlled the scoreboard very well and, every opportunity we’ve created so far, we’ve taken.
“Look, it is a pretty good wicket. The heavy roller killed any remaining pace that was in it so it was certainly going to be attritional cricket and I thought we stuck to our task very well.
“Wickets have fallen in clusters and this is one of those cricket wickets where every cliché I could give you probably applies.
“The first 20 balls at batters are crucial, making them play, making them play forward defensives and you just hope they are not adjusted to the pace of the wicket.
“If I’m honest, it is flat, it is slow, it is hard work for the bowlers as it stands at the moment and, whether it takes spin later in the game, we will have to wait and see.”
Leach was delighted to see Baker back up his excellent knock with a tight and tidy spell of 16 overs for 42 runs in which he showed a good rhythm.
He said: “I thought he was back to somewhere near to his best from what we’ve seen so far in his career.
“Josh gave us good control and just what was needed on this wicket and I’m grateful he managed to get through 18-19 overs, that’s for sure.
“An excellent day for him. I think he has bowled pretty well since he returned to the side and today was probably the pick of that and hopefully he keeps improving.”
Worcestershire’s position would have been even more promising had opener Joe Phillips, who made 80, not been bowled off a no ball by Adam Finch when on 24.
Leach said: “Obviously we can’t afford to do it at this level and Adam knows that as well as all of us know that.
“It is a real shame that we couldn’t have capitalised and got some momentum but these things happen. No-one does it on purpose and it is a nice lesson for him early in his career, I guess.”
Leach believes Worcestershire are in the ascendancy at the half-way stage of the game.
He said: “Who knows tomorrow what will happen with the new ball around the corner, if you can get one wicket, and get on a bit of a roll.
“We are a couple of wickets away from their bowlers if you think about it that way. We are certainly feeling like we are on top in this game at the moment.”