Sunday, April 3rd, 2022

PENNINGTON AND LEACH STRIKE WITH THE BALL BEFORE BAKER HALF CENTURY

Dillon Pennington and Joe Leach both picked up three wickets and then Josh Baker smashed a rapid half century as Worcestershire established a powerful position on day two of the warm-up fixture with Durham UCCE at Kidderminster.

The University resumed on 33-2 in reply to Worcestershireโ€™s 303-4 declared and were dismissed for 162 mid-way through the afternoon session.

Pennington continued his fine pre-season form and ended with 3-32 from 12 overs, while there was another consistent display from Leach, who returned 3-38 in 13 overs.

Spinner Baker (2), Charlie Morris (1) and Adam Finch (1) were also amongst the wickets in a good work-out before the opening LV=Insurance County Championship match with Leicestershire on Thursday at the Uptonsteel County Ground.

Baker then led the way with 58 off 52 balls as Worcestershire raced to 225-6 from 42 overs by the close, a lead of 366 with one day remaining.
Leach, Gareth Roderick and Ed Barnard also made useful runs in their final pre-season knock before the meeting with the Foxes.

There was an opportunity for star Pakistan batsman Azhar Ali to meet his new teammates after joining up with Worcestershire for the 2022 campaign.

After completing a successful Test series for his country against Australia, Azhar flew into England yesterday.

He had his first practice with the County in sharp contrast in temperature to the 40 degrees Azhar left behind him in Pakistan.

Durham resumed on 33-2 in reply to Worcestershireโ€™s 303-4 declared, and five different bowlers picked up a wicket each during the morning session.

Finch, bowling from the pavilion end, made the first breakthrough in the third over of a windy and cold morning.

Andrew Whaits (21) angled his bat outside the off stump and edged through to Ed Pollock at first slip.

Leach shared the opening attack from the railway end, and he struck in the next over when trapping Joe Cracknell (11) lbw.

After spells of 4-1-14-1 and 5-1-17-1, respectively, Finch and Leach were replaced by Morris and Pennington.

Simon Fernandes (13) pushed forward to Morris and was caught behind, and then Nikhil Gorantla (7) lost his off stump to a fine delivery from Pennington.

It was Bakerโ€™s turn to strike with what became the last ball before lunch.
Michael Booth (12) went for a drive, and Baker held onto a tumbling catch away to his right at the second attempt to leave Tom Price unbeaten on 38 out of 114-7 from 43.3 overs.

When played resumed, Price completed a worthy half century from 105 balls with his sixth boundary via a square drive off Leach.

But Leach ended his knock with the next delivery when Price (51) aimed a blow over cover and only picked out Baker at 137-8.

It was Leachโ€™s third scalp and Pennington also enjoyed a third success when left hander Angus Beattie (22) could only deflect a delivery which bounced on him, and Ben Cox parried into the hands of Pollock at first slip.

Baker polished off the innings when Sebastian Allison (1) was leg before.
When Worcestershire batted again, Pollock (4) went for a big legside hit and was caught in the deep.

Leach made 37 off 33 balls before he was bowled by a ball of full length and Roderick (36) clipped a delivery to mid wicket.

Baker hit 11 boundaries in his rapid 58 before he holed out to mid-on.
After Morris (1) went lbw, Barnard had time to make a run a ball 45 before he found the hands of long on shortly before the close.