Monday, June 19th, 2017

Mason: Honours Even Heading Into Second Day

Mason: Honours Even Heading Into Second Day

Assistant coach Matt Mason believes honours were even after the opening day of Worcestershire's Specsavers County Championship promotion battle with Kent at New Road.

The County will resume tomorrow morning on 95-3 in reply to Kent's 260 all out after the visitors had opted to bat in the sweltering conditions.

Joe Leach and Josh Tongue picked up three wickets apiece for Worcestershire with Moeen Ali making a hurricane 37 off 16 balls with nine fours and Joe Clarke 34 not out when they replied with the bat.

Mason said: "It was a pretty even day after the way that last session went. With the ball we were fairly happy. We would have taken their score at the start of the day because it's a good surface. It's got some pace and some bounce.

"There was a little bit of suspect batting from them as well and some good bowling from us. At 140-7, I think you could argue that we would have wanted to finish things off a little bit sooner than we did.

"But as time goes on in the game, the ball gets a bit softer, conditions get a bit easier for batting so I think the bowlers stuck to their task well.

"Then we had a frantic start to our innings and at the end of the day 95-3 is not a bad effort for the start of our chase."

Mason added: "We definitely would have batted. Even though the pitch has got the pace and bounce in it, if you get in and bat well you can score.

"There were some great shots played by some of the batsmen today which means the bounce is true.

"How it will behave going forward, I'm not sure. It didn't take much spin. Mo said it spun a little bit when it was a bit slower but at the moment it looks like a really good surface and we are in for a good game."

Adam Rouse and Matt Coles added 79 in 16 overs for the eighth Kent wicket and it was another example of all teams now having strength in depth down the order.

Mason said "We spent time talking about that because a couple of times this year we've had teams seven wickets down and they've gone on and got some runs.

"I think it is a combination of things.It is very hard to get a team seven down. You've got to work really hard for your wickets and by the time you get there, you have got a softer ball, you have got better batting conditions and some tired bodies.

"We just have to try and stay patient, hang in there and the other thing to remember is a lot of teams bat right down the order now.

"It is not like tail-enders from yesterday. They can all hold a bat and it is not that easy. It is a case of trying to take wickets all the way down to number eleven."

In terms of the County's plans for tomorrow, Mason said: "Getting a lead and scoreboard pressure is always important. I think first things first.We have to see off the threat in the morning.

"It always does a little bit here in the first hour so Joe (Clarke) and George (Rhodes) need to get themselves back in. I thought they did really well tonight.

"Obviously it is going to be another warm day and if we can get their bowlers into their second and third spells, then we can cash in and get a big lead."

Moeen went for his shots from ball one on his return to Championship action with Worcestershire.

Mason said: "Mo bats how Mo wants to bat. He went out there and thought it was a chance to take the opposition bowlers down.

"We know Stevens is a fantastic bowler and I thought the way Mo knocked him off his line was really good.

"He might put his hand up as well and say should he have been a little bit more circumspect at times but he swung some momentum our way and that's important."

*A reminder that there will be no King's School parking available for members and supporters tomorrow.