Thursday, July 20th, 2023


Worcestershire are in a strong position to achieve a third LV=Insurance County Championship win of the season after day two of the encounter with Leicestershire at Oakham School.

The home side were set a 238 target and, when bad light halted proceedings, they had been reduced to 114-7 from 35 overs.

On another day dominated by the seamers, the four pronged Worcestershire attack of Joe Leach, Dillon Pennington, Matthew Waite and Josh Tongue proved a real handful for the Leicestershire batters.

Worcestershire earned a first innings lead of 68 after bowling out the home side for 110 with Pennington and Waite sharing seven of the wickets.

Opener Jake Libby then produced a superb knock of 67 from 86 balls with nine fours in the most challenging of conditions.

Libby opted for the more aggression approach in still seamer-friendly conditions despite there being a lower moisture content on day two.

It paid handsome dividends and was largely responsible for Worcestershire being able to reach 169 all out.

Leicestershire were quickly on the back foot when they set out in pursuit of their target with Leach and Pennington making inroads with the new ball.

Waite and Tongue were equally effective as another 19 wickets fell in the day.

Tongue had been released from England Ashes duty at Old Trafford and he was brought into the side to replace Adam Finch at the beginning of day two.

Worcestershire quickly polished off the Leicestershire first innings after they resumed on 88-8.

Callum Parkinson (3) was plumb lbw to a ball of full length from Waite who picked up his third scalp of the innings.

Rehan Ahmed showed some aggressive intent although he was fortunate on 43 when he tried to leave alone a Pennington bouncer which caught the edge of the bat and flew over the slip cordon.

But he added only one more run when he flicked at a legside delivery from Pennington and the ball ballooned up on the off side to where Adam Hose took a fine catch running back from second slip.

Pennington finished with 4-36 from 14.1 overs, his best figures of the season and Waite 3-24 from nine overs.

Worcestershire openers Libby and Gareth Roderick showed attacking intent when they launched their side’s second innings.

Libby pulled Matt Salisbury for four and a thick edge to third man brough another boundary off the same bowler.

Roderick clipped a Salisbury full toss to the mid wicket boundary but on 13 was caught low down at third slip by a Chris Wright delivery which nipped away.

Libby was ultra aggressive and upper cut Wiaan Mulder over the slips for four and kept down another delivery which sped away backward of point to the ropes.

Given the challenging nature of the pitch, it was a bold and positive approach and there were five fours in his first 27 runs.

The 50 came up in just 7.5 overs in barely half an hour’s play.

Azhar Ali (6) lost his middle stump to Wright but Libby continued to score freely and reached an excellent half century when he turned Louis Kimber on the legside for two.

It was completed from just 51 balls out of 69-2 and contained eight fours.

Jack Haynes (4) went for a legside pull against Salisbury and was adjudged to have gloved through to keeper Peter Handscomb.

Worcestershire reached lunch on 81-3 and Libby and Hose added 31 runs for the fourth wicket.

Hose (12) scrapped away for 32 balls but was then caught and bowled off a leading edge by Wright as several wickets fell in quick succession in the afternoon session.

Libby’s fine innings eventually ended on 67 when he nibbled at a delivery from Wiaan Mulder and was caught behind and then Waite (2) was bowled driving at Wright.

Leach (2) was run out attempting a second run after turning Wright on the leg side and Josh Baker (11) flashed hard at a delivery from Salisbury and was taken at deep cover.

D’Oliveira played positively for 17 before he took a step down the wicket to Mulder but could only nick through to first slip.

Pennington (10) and Tongue (16 not out) played positively in adding 24 for the final wicket before the former drove at Scriven and was pouched at second slip.

The last seven wickets went down for 63 runs but Leach gave Worcestershire the perfect start when Leicestershire set off in pursuit of their target.

Louis Kimber (0) drove at the fifth ball of the first over and Roderick made no mistake behind the stumps.

Pennington was also soon back amongst the wickets as the other opener Rishi Patel (5) was well held by Hose at second slip with Leicestershire 13-2.

Waite came into the attack after tea and quickly accounted for Colin Ackermann (15) with Baker diving in front of second slip to produce a superb catch.

Tongue then had plunged Leicestershire deeper into trouble with two wickets in three balls.

Peter Handscomb (3) lost his off stump after pushing forward and then Mulder (0) attempted a pull and feathered through to Roderick down the legside.

Leicestershire were then 53-5 but resistance came from Rehan Ahmed and Lewis Hill provided resistance during a partnership of 39.

The return of Pennington broke the stand when Hill (35) was also strangled down the leg side.

Three balls later Roderick collected his fourth catch, diving low to his right after Tom Scriven (0) edging Pennington before bad light ended hopes of a two-day finish.

Leach finished with 11-0-42-1, Pennington 8-1-25-3, Tongue 9-2-20-2 and Waite 7-2-19-1.