Friday, May 26th, 2017

Mason Says “brave Decision” To Bowl Pays Off Versus Northants

Assistant coach Matt Mason said Worcestershire's "brave decision to bowl first" turned out to be right move after they dominated the opening day of the Specsavers County Championship clash with Northamptonshire at Wantage Road.

Joe Leach and Jack Shantry picked up three wickets apiece as Northants were bowled out for 238 in 64.1 overs.

Then Daryl Mitchell followed his 120 against Derbyshire with an unbeaten 52 after sharing an opening stand of 77 with Brett D'Oliveira as Worcestershire closed on 108-2 from 31 overs.

Mason said: "It was a really good day for us in the end because, to be honest,when we turned up and we saw the wicket,we had a lot of discussions as a group about what we should do.

"It had a lot of grass on it, a lot of dead grass, although they cut it down a little bit before the start of play.

"We just had a feeling with the grass coverage it had, if it was going to do anything then it would be first thing so we took the brave decision I think to bowl first – and it turned out to be right decision.

"The wicket seemed to go through little periods of doing a bit and then it seemed really flat at times.

"The key to our success was sticking to our guns, sticking to our plans, trying to hit the pitch in good areas and getting the rewards and the guys did that as a bowling unit rather than anyone standing out on their own.

"The guys bowled very well on it and then to get the partnership we got (between Mitchell and D'Oliveira) and to have over 100 runs with only two wickets down showed it was a good decision (to bowl) in the end."

Leach brought spinner Nathan Lyon into the action as early as the eighth over.

Mason said: "When you have got an international spinner, and a class player like Nathan, you just think it is worth throwing him in the game early to havea look. You just never know.

"Again it was a really good example of Leachy's forward thinking as a captain because you win the toss and bowl, you think it is going to be seaming everywhere, so to get a spinner on quickly, hopefully put them a bit under the pump as well.

"As it turned out, it didn't do what we thought for Nath so we put the seamers back on.

"Once again all the bowling unit all chipped in? They have done all year. That's what has been a terrific thing. Obviously Leachy has stood out for the most part but generally as rule they do stick together as a unit.

"They know what they have to do, they keep things very simple and all I'm all I'm happy about the way they are going about their business and they are getting the results they deserve."

On Worcestershire's reply, Mason said: "Really good batting. The way Mitch and Dolly started, it was so positive.

"They put them on the back foot straight away and looked really composed.

"The ball that got Dolly out, it was a little bit unlucky, it nipped back and skidded on him a bit. He was disappointed but that was a good ball that got him.

"We will look to push on tomorrow and get past them and put them under some scoreboard pressure.

"Will we look to bat all day? I think so. It will depend on how we start and then we can assess as the day goes on.

"We will see how the first hour goes in the morning and then we will assess the game from there.

"Ideally we'd like to target maximum batting points I would have thought and then see what we need to do."