Saturday, May 14th, 2022

MARATHON SPELL FOR JOSH REWARDED WITH THREE WICKETS ON DAY OF TOIL FOR BOWLERS

Worcestershire spinner Josh Baker bowled a commendable marathon spell and was rewarded with three wickets on a day of toil for the bowlers in the LV=Insurance County Championship match with Derbyshire at the Incora County Ground.

Baker delivered 44 overs with great accuracy on a pitch offering the minimum of assistance and encouragement for the slow left armer.

It was the most overs Baker, who is 19 on Monday, has ever delivered in a single innings, surpassing the 30 when he achieved a career best 4-51 against Leicestershire in the opening game of the season.

But the slow left armer kept persevering and showed little sign of flagging in the sunny conditions.

He finished with 44-3-150-3 and also had a chance put down off his bowling in another great learning curve for the youngster in only his 10th first class match.

Ed Barnard (24-4-65-3) also bowled commendably and left armer Ben Gibbon (29-6-98-1) bounced back from a challenging first spell in only his second first class game.

But wickets were hard to come by in the benign conditions.

Derbyshire were able to total 565-8 declared, their highest total against Worcestershire, and secure a first innings lead of 197, with Anuj Dal hitting a career best 114 not out.

Worcestershire were left 16 overs to bat at the tail-end of the day and reached 59 for the loss of Ed Pollock.

Derbyshire resumed on 274-4 and Luis Reece had added only two to his overnight 20 when he survived a chance at cover off the bowling of Baker.

Worcestershire opted to take the second new ball after 86 overs and it brought an immediate reward when Reece on 42 edged a Charlie Morris delivery which bounced and nipped away to keeper Ben Cox.

Anuj Dal was fortunate on two when he inside edged Gibbon inches past the stumps with Cox pulling off an excellent stop.

It was an uphill battle for the bowlers on a slow pitch but Barnard deservedly struck for the third time when Leus du Plooy (62) went lbw after looking to work to leg.

It secured a second bowling point for Worcestershire and the 110 overs ended with Derbyshireโ€™s total on 394-6.

Dal on 35 survived a confident lbw shout against Gibbon.

But it was Baker who picked up the two wickets to fall during the afternoon session.

He trapped Alex Thomson (54) lbw and then had Sam Conners (16) stumped after he came down the wicket on the stroke of tea.

Dal persevered and cut Gibbon for four to reach his century off 165 balls with nine boundaries before the declaration.

When Worcestershire launched their reply, Ed Pollock struck Conners for three boundaries in his opening over which cost 18 runs.

He then hit Suranga Lakmal for two boundaries but on 23 was bowled by the same bowler with a delivery which cut back.

Jake Libbyโ€™s back foot cover drive brought him four at Conners expense and he had moved onto 17 by the close with Azhar Ali on 10 not out.