Friday, April 23rd, 2021

CLUB CAPTAIN LEACH LEADS COUNTY FIGHTBACK AS FOUR BATTING POINTS ARE SECURED

Worcestershire again demonstrated the resilience and depth now evident in their batting in red-ball cricket with Club Captain Joe Leach at the forefront of a fine fightback on the second day of their LV=Insurance County Championship encounter with Nottinghamshire at New Road.

Leach struck a fine 84 to become the fifth batsman in the innings to score fifty-plus as Worcestershire recovered from 216-7 shortly after tea on the first day to total 436 and chalk up four batting bonus points.

It was the fifth time in the last eight first-class games that they have scored over 400 in the first innings.

As in the opening two games against Essex and Derbyshire, Worcestershire were indebted to their middle-lower order after an opening stand of 140 yesterday was followed by the loss of seven wickets for 76.

Alzarri Joseph and Ed Barnard extended their eighth-wicket partnership to 114 after Worcestershire resumed on 305-7. The West Indies fast bowler staking another claim to be classified as a genuine all-rounder.

Joseph scored eighties against New Zealand and Bangladesh during Tests this winter and followed a critical 46 at Derby with his first half-century for Worcestershire. On 61 from 101 balls, he lobbed a gentle catch to short mid-on off Zak Chappell.

The stand was only six short of the Countyโ€™s eighth-wicket record against Nottinghamshire of 120 by Phil Weston and Stuart Lampitt at New Road in 2001.

Barnard, who scored his maiden first-class century at Chelmsford, dug in for a 125 ball fifty before he went back to cut Liam Patterson-White and was caught behind on 61.

Leach, who brought up the fourth batting point with three balls to spare, found an able ally in last man Charlie Morris.

He blocked an end while Leach mixed belligerence, which brought sixes off Chappell, Dane Patterson, Lyndon James and Steve Mullaney with solid defence.

When the 50 partnership came up shortly before a delayed lunch, Leachโ€™s contribution was 49, and he and Morris continued to frustrate the visitors in extending their stand to 81 in 34.4 overs.

Leach eventually was caught at first slip for 84 off Patterson-White to leave Morris 10 not out after defying the Nottinghamshire attack for 67 deliveries.

The last time five Worcestershire batsmen scored fifty plus in an innings was in 2018 when Daryl Mitchell, Joe Clarke, Tom Fell, Barnard and Travis Head achieved that feat against Surrey at the Kia Oval.

Nottinghamshire openers Ben Slater and Haseeb Hameed were watchful and experienced few alarms against the new ball.

But Joseph sent down a lively six over spell when he came on first change at the New Road End, and Barnardโ€™s skiddy bowling asked questions.

Hameed, on 31, was surprised by a delivery of extra bounce from Barnard, who also saw Slater edge a delivery wide of slip for a boundary.

By the close, Nottinghamshire had moved onto 99-0 from 44 overs.