Monday, May 11th, 2015

Skipper Mitchell Digs In To Lead Worcs Resistance In Pursuit Of 437 Target

Skipper Mitchell Digs In To Lead Worcs Resistance In Pursuit Of 437 Target

Worcestershire showed spirited resistance with the bat in the final session of the third day as chased a 437 target in the LV = County County Championship derby with Warwickshire at Edgbaston.

Skipper Daryl Mitchell dug in to make a determined unbeaten 16 off 90 balls and shared in an opening stand of 52 with Richard Oliver (33) and then 36 with Moeen Ali (33) who was dismissed in the penultimate over of the day.

It lifted Worcestershire through to 88-2 off 32 overs by the close.

The target the county had to chase would have been considerably less but for a ninth wicket stand of 114 in Warwickshire's second innings between Chris Wright and Boyd Rankin.

The Worcestershire bowlers stuck gamely to their task but understandably began to tire after having little time to recuperate once their side had been dismissed for 149 in just 42 overs in the first innings.

Charlie Morris bowled 54 overs, Joe Leach 50 and Jack Shantry 39 in two and two-third days.

Warwickshire resumed on 105-2 and Leach (two) and Morris (one) collected three wickets for 19 in the space of 32 balls.

Leach, fresh from career best first innings figures of 6-73, made the first breakthrough of the day when Laurie Evans (16) drove at the ball and was safely pouched at second slip by Worcestershire skipper Daryl Mitchell.

Tim Ambrose then edged the next delivery just short of Mitchell but the Warwickshire wicket-keeper was soon on his way back to the pavilion.

Leach got the ball to cut back sharply and Ambrose (6) nicked it onto the pad before it ballooned up to Jack Shantry at fourth slip.

In the next over Morris had his reward for a probing spell when he clung onto a caught and bowled chance offered by Rikki Clarke (1).

Keith Barker rode his luck in the early stages against Morris, edging him between second and third slip for two and seeing another false stroke fly away to the third man boundary.

Morris and Leach bowled initial morning spells of 8-2-26-1 and 9-2-24-2 respectively.

Spinner Sachithra Senanayake entered the attack at 183-5 and in his first over a single took Warwickshire skipper Varun Chopra to his century off 212 balls with 10 fours.

Moeen ended a stand of 66 in 20 overs between Chopra and Keith Barker when the latter was trapped lbw for 43.

Moeen struck with the first ball of the afternoon session when Chopra was adjudged lbw for 107.

Senanayake made another breakthrough shortly afterwards when Jeetan Patel was neatly stumped by Ben Cox after making eight with the total 207-8.

But then Wright (61) and Rankin (56) added an unbroken 114 to take the total to 321-8 and the declaration at tea – the highest partnership for that wicket against Worcestershire by The Bears.

Worcestershire openers Mitchell and Oliver made a positive start against the new ball attack of Barker and Wright.

Mitchell on drove and cover drove Barker for four and Oliver leg glanced and cover drove successive balls from Wright to the ropes.

The 50 stand came up in the 14th over – the second of the campaign for the pair after putting on 57 in the second innings against Sussex.

Spinner Patel broke through with 52 on the board when Oliver (33) tried to work the ball on the leg side and was caught off a leading edge at mid off by Evans.

New batsman Moeen got off the mark in emphatic style with a straight six off Patel.

He then tucked into Rikki Clarke with four boundaries in one over, two via cut shots and two from handsome cover drives.

But Moeen, after being dropped on 33 by Chopra at first slip off Barker, failed to add to his score before edging the same bowler through to keeper Ambrose.