Thursday, June 3rd, 2021


Brett D’Oliveira showed more defiance with the bat and Josh Tongue picked up three wickets on a challenging opening day for Worcestershire in the LV=Insurance County Championship match with Durham at New Road.

D’Oliveira batted for the best part of three hours in making an undefeated 39 as he followed up his resolute second innings performance at Trent Bridge and 71 against Derbyshire.

Ed Barnard was the only other player to reach 20 after Worcestershire were made to struggle after being put into bat under cloudy skies.

A mixture of excellent bowling by Bryden Carse and Matthew Potts plus some questionable shot selection meant Worcestershire were dismissed for 131 in 50.3 overs after being put in.

Alex Lees hit a half century for Durham but two late wickets for Tongue, who finished with 3-22 from nine overs, restricted the visitors to 140-4

Worcestershire were without batsman Jack Haynes who suffered an ankle injury during training on Tuesday.

They made two changes from the side which overcame Derbyshire with Gareth Roderick and Tongue replacing Haynes and Alzarri Joseph respectively.

Jake Libby made a confident start and cover drove Chris Rushworth for four.

But on 13 the prolific opener did not go through fully with his cut shot and fell to a good low catch by Alex Lees at backward point off Bryden Carse.

Matthew Potts and Carse then picked up three wickets between them in the space of five balls.

Tom Fell (1) looked to work Potts on the legside and was lbw. Two balls later Roderick (0) moved across his stumps and was also leg before.

Carse beat the defensive push of Daryl Mitchell (6) with a delivery which moved back into him and he was another lbw victim.

Brett D’Oliveira got off the mark with a thick edge for four off Carse and square cut the returning Rushworth to the ropes.

New batsman Ross Whiteley also produced a confident looking stroke as he flicked Ben Raine off his legs to the boundary.

But Ben Raine found the edge of his bat after making eight and Borthwick made no mistake at second slip.

Potts claimed a third wicket soon after lunch when Ben Cox 11) went for a drive and edged through to keeper Ned Eckersley.

The only consolation for Cox was when, on four, he completed 5,000 first class runs.

The in-form Ed Barnard joined D’Oliveira and decided on an aggressive approach.

Three boundaries in an over from Potts via two cover drives and an upper cut brought up the 100 in the 36th over.

D’Oliveira continued to look composed and solid and moved into the 30s but then two more wickets fell in successive overs from Carse.

Barnard on 20 pushed hard at an away swinger and was caught behind and Club captain Joe Leach had not scored when he nicked the same bowler through to second slip.

Tongue on nine went lbw to Ben Raine and then Borthwick at second slip held onto a low chance offered by Dillon Pennington off Potts for nought.

Worcestershire needed to strike back early with the new ball and the first bowling change – with Tongue taking over from Leach – brought an immediate reward.

Cameron Bancroft (18) was undone by a ball which moved away from him and Fell took a fine low catch at first slip.

Lees completed a 96 ball half century and he and Borthwick put on 69 for the second wicket.

Whiteley came into the attack and in his second over Lees (52) was superbly caught down the leg side by Cox one-handed diving to his right.

Tongue then helped Worcestershire finish the day on a positive note with two wickets in the space of three balls.

Borthwick (42) sliced him to third man where Barnard held onto the chance and then nightwatchman Potts ducked under a delivery but the ball hit his bat and Cox took a sprawling legside catch.