Saturday, June 5th, 2021


Jake Libby scored his third century of the season as Worcestershire showed plenty of application and fighting qualities on day three of the LV=Insurance County Championship match with Durham who eventually triumphed by 10 wickets at New Road.

The opening batsman continued his prolific season with the bat by reaching three figures off 180 balls with 14 boundaries.

He has now scored a superb 776 runs in the competition this summer – a tally only surpassed by Durham’s David Bedingham (787) – and five hundreds in just 14 first class appearances since joining Worcestershire.

Libby has also faced a marathon 1650 deliveries – at least 300 more than any other player in the competition in 2021.

Brett D’Oliveira (46) gave him excellent support during a century stand for the sixth wicket and again looked in prime form.

Ben Cox, Ed Barnard and Club Captain Joe Leach also made late order contributions as Worcestershire totalled 336 after resuming on 99-3.

There was much to admire about Worcestershire’s rearguard action in making Durham graft all the way for their wickets.

But in the final analysis the County had to play catch-up after being dismissed in their first innings for 131 – a combination of excellent bowling and some debatable shot selections – and a second morning with the ball which did not go as they would have desired before an excellent afternoon session.

Durham openers Cameron Bancroft (46 not out) and Michael Jones (34 not out) saw their side to victory despite another impressive spell from Josh Tongue after his four wickets in the first innings.

Libby, who was 51 not out overnight, collected two boundaries in an over from Chris Rushworth via a back foot cover drive and a cut.

Rushworth made the first breakthrough of the day when nightwatchman Josh Tongue, having resisted 37 deliveries for 15, was lbw.

Ross Whiteley on four drove at a Ben Raine delivery slanted across him and edged to Cameron Bancroft at first slip.

New batsman D’Oliveira, who had top-scored with an unbeaten 39 in Worcestershire’s first innings, looked in good form.

He straight drove Matthew Potts for four and clipped Raine through mid-wicket for another boundary.

Libby had a let-off on 75 when keeper Ned Eckersley failed to hold onto a straightforward chance off the bowling of Rushworth.

But otherwise he and D’Oliveira played with freedom and the latter cut and straight drove for successive boundaries.

By lunch Libby had moved onto 89 not out with D’Oliveira unbeaten on 36 out of 199-5 and the century stand came up immediately after the resumption from 147 balls.

Bryden Carse bowled a testing post lunch spell to Libby who was caught at first slip off a no ball on 96.

But the former Nottinghamshire batsman went to his deserved and excellent hundred – from 180 balls – with his 14th four.

D’Oliveira’s accomplished knock of 46 ended when he was bowled by Potts from a delivery which kept extremely low to end a 106 partnership with Libby.

Libby went on the offensive with three successive boundaries off Potts.

Ben Cox leg glanced Raine for four to avoid the innings defeat before Libby’s fine knock ended on 126 when he gave spinner Scott Borthwick the charge and was stumped.

He batted for five and a half hours and his 210-ball knock contained 18 boundaries.

Cox (26) edged Rushworth to Borthwick at second slip and Leach (19), after adding 36 with Barnard, went for a pull and top edged Potts to Eckersley at 328-9.

Barnard was left unbeaten on 34 after last man Dillon Pennington (5) edged Carse to second slip and has now scored 468 runs at an average of 52 batting at number eight this summer.