Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

Rhodes: Change Of Tactics With Batting Line Up Paid Off

Rhodes: Change Of Tactics With Batting Line Up Paid Off

Steve Rhodes felt Worcestershire's change of tactics in promoting John Hastings and skipper Joe Leach to the top of their batting order paid off on day one of the Specsavers County Championship match with Durham at the Emirates.

Hastings went in at number three and Leach at four to try and soften the pink duke ball being experimented with in this round of matches as quickly as possible and knock the Durham bowlers out of their stride.

Former Durham all-rounder Hastings made 12 and Leach 16 and Rhodes felt that their contribution "was a risk worth taking" in order to allow their usual top order to bat when the ball had lost some of its hardness.

A superb unbeaten 91 from Brett D'Oliveira enabled Worcestershire to close day one under lights – play ended at 9.50pm – on 213-4 after bowling out Durham for 197 thanks to the efforts of Josh Tongue, Hastings and Leach.

Rhodes told BBC Hereford-Worcester's Dave Bradley: "We are very, very pleased with the position we have put ourselves in. There was a good fightback from Durham in their innings because they were seven down for 60 odd.

"But we learnt a lot from their innings and it meant we changed the tactics a little bit with our innings and thankfully it worked.

"We felt we needed to get that ball soft as quick as we could so if it meant belting it a couple of times or trying to put the Durham bowlers off their line and length when it was at its most dangerous……we thought it was a risk worth taking. "

Although John and Joe didn't get masses (12 and 16) it served its purpose because it meant we had got some really good batters to come later on when the ball was a little bit softer.

"But we should pay tribute to Brett D'Oliveira who is 91 not out and played extremely well.

"He's had the new ball and then the soft ball (to contend with) so his innings was very special."

As regards the pink duke ball, Rhodes said: "As far as I can make out from the players, it definitely swung a little bit early but not consistently which also makes for difficult batting as well.

"It definitely got soft when we were bowling around the 28 over mark but I think we got it a bit softer quicker (when we batted) because we went after the Durham bowlers. When it goes soft it is not easy.

"It will be interesting what the feedback is from the other grounds. We know the Riverside does a little bit and there have been some runs scored elsewhere.

"The full deliveries are quite difficult under lights but you've got a couple of guys who are brilliant quick bowlers in Ben Stokes and Mark Wood who have got good pace.

"But we are very pleased to be in that position. To be only four wickets down with over 200 on the board, we are very pleased with."