Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021


Jake Libby’s splendid 77 and a maiden LV=Insurance County Championship half-century from Charlie Morris helped Worcestershire obtain a position of strength on day two against Leicestershire at New Road.

Libby and paceman Morris laid the foundations of Worcestershire’s total of 378-6 – and an overall lead of 156 – during a second-wicket stand of 125 in 37 overs.

Opener Libby, who had completed 1,000 runs for the season on Tuesday evening, lifted his overall tally to 1072, a figure only surpassed at present by Sussex’s Tom Haines.

Morris did an excellent job in his nightwatchman role.

He blunted the impact of the new ball bowlers and denied them the opportunity to attack the Worcestershire front-line batsmen but also produced some quality strokes of his own.

It enabled the middle and later order players to cash in with contributions all down the order as the Leicestershire attack – except for Chris Wright and Callum Parkinson – toiled away for little reward.

Worcestershire resumed on 30-1 in reply to Leicestershire’s 222 and had an early slice of good fortune when Morris on nine was dropped at first slip off Chris Wright.

But it was one of the very few moments of alarm during the morning session for the second wicket pair who batted splendidly.

Libby took advantage of some loose deliveries from Abidine Sakande to pick up three boundaries in one over.

Morris, who scored a century for the Seconds against Leicestershire two weeks ago, also collected a trio of fours in an over from Wright.

Libby reached a 72-ball half-century with nine boundaries.

The century partnership came up in 30 overs, and the last ball before lunch from George Rhodes enabled Morris to reach his maiden Championship fifty from 123 balls with his ninth boundary.

It was warmly applauded, and the morning session produced 108 runs from 30 overs, but the picture changed after lunch.

Morris was beaten by a quicker delivery from Callum Parkinson and bowled in the first over after the resumption without addition to his score.

Wright bowled an impressive spell during the early part of the afternoon and was rewarded when Libby on 77 went back and looked to force the ball through the off side and nicked through to Louis Kimber at second slip.

New batsmen Gareth Roderick and Jack Haynes began to prosper after a period of consolidation.

Roderick played two promising 40 plus knocks on a difficult pitch against Middlesex at Lord’s last week and continued in the same manner.

He on drove Parkinson to the boundary, and cover drove Ben Mike for four as the first batting bonus point was secured in the 65th over.

Roderick had moved onto 35 before he was dismissed in an unfortunate manner.

He inside-edged a delivery from Ed Barnes onto his boot, and the ball ballooned up to Louis Kimber at second slip.

Brett D’Oliveira began confidently, and a cover drive for four off Barnes steered Worcestershire into a first-innings lead.

The all-rounder scored 27 from his first 20 balls.

Parkinson struck in successive overs after tea as Brett D’Oliveira, 37, picked out short extra cover and Haynes on 44 was unluckily stumped when the ball bounced off keeper Sam Bates back onto the stumps.

But Ed Barnard and Ben Cox prospered in the final session and were not troubled by the second new ball, which was taken at 270-6.

Cox cover-drove Wright for four to bring up the Worcestershire 300 in the 89thover, and the pair played some delightful strokes to entertain a sun-soaked crowd.

The wicket-keeper batsman completed his second half-century of the summer from 77 balls with seven fours in the same over from Parkinson as the 100 stand was completed with Barnard.

By the close, Cox had moved onto 52 and Barnard 44 in a partnership so far worth 106.