Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

Mason: “magnificent” Partnership Boosts County’s Hopes At Hove

Mason: “magnificent” Partnership Boosts County’s Hopes At Hove

Matt Mason says Daryl Mitchell and Brett D'Oliveira's "magnificent" opening partnership has given Worcestershire a realistic chance of securing some tangible reward from the Specsavers County Championship clash with Sussex at Hove.

The talented duo gave Worcestershire the best possible reply to Sussex's 579-8 declared in making 139-0 from 44 overs with Mitchell unbeaten on 85 and D'Oliveira 43.

Now Assistant Coach Mason is looking for the County to continue in the same vein on the third day of what is currently still a decent surface and post a substantial first innings total themselves.

Mason told BBC Hereford-Worcester's Dave Bradley: "We've come off really, really pleased. It sounds funny given the state of the game and 570 odd is a big, big score.

"But to go out there in that session….and what a partnership Brett and Daryl put on there for us.

"It has given us a real glimpse of what we can do if we apply ourselves and maybe take something from this game.

"It looks on the surface as if we are way behind in the game.

"But when you go out there after 150 overs in the field and put in a partnership like that, and see off one of the most hostile spells of opening bowling I've seen in some time, then we've come off thinking it was a pretty reasonable day in the end for us."

Both sides opted on the second day to send down a sizeable proportion of short pitched bowling.

Mason said: "Our initial plan was to do it because not much else had worked to be honest.

"We were a little bit surprised they went down that road with the new ball because that is the best time to bowl on this wicket.

"Maybe by doing that, it took a little bit of hardness out of the ball and made batting a little bit easier towards the end of that partnership.

"As long as we get ourselves back in tomorrow morning, particularly Daryl and Brett, we are hopeful of putting up a big first innings score ourselves."

Mitchell has now put together successive scores of 120, 161, 78 not out and 85 not out in the Championship.

Mason said: "He looks in great nick, probably as good as I've seen for a few years, and you can tell that when you are throwing balls at him in the nets in the morning in preparation.

"He is hitting the ball so clean, his feet are moving well, he is in a really good place. Confidence is everything in sport and he has got plenty of that at the moment.

"I thought Brett's innings was fantastic. It wasn't his usual flowing innings but it was gritty, it was tough and he was a great foil for Daryl.

"Again I can't say how good that partnership was. It was brilliant."

As regards the state of the pitch, Mason said: "I did wonder towards the end of our innings when one or two with the ball at the sea end looked like they stayed down a little bit.

"But at the moment it hasn't got too many gremlins in it. Hopefully it does hold together.

"For the most part, it has actually been a pretty good surface. "I'm not expecting anything tomorrow but who knows, with another day of sunshine on it, what it might do on day four."