Sunday, July 11th, 2021


Academy spinner Josh Baker made a promising start to his senior Worcestershire career on the opening day of the LV=Insurance County Championship match with Warwickshire at New Road.

The 17-year-old, who has just completed his studies at Malvern College, did not look fazed and claimed his first wicket when he trapped Sam Hain lbw for 11.

Earlier this week, Baker signed his first rookie contract with Worcestershire, was mobbed by his teammates, and ended the day with figures of 12.4-0-35-1 from his three spells of controlled bowling.

Warwickshire reached 220-1 at one stage. Pieter Malan (121) and Dominic Sibley (80) played fine knocks, but Worcestershire struck back with three wickets in quick succession before rain ended proceedings at 245-4 from 77.4 overs.

Worcestershire also handed a first Championship start to New Zealand leg spinner Ish Sodhi, while paceman Adam Finch came into the team for the first time this summer.

Warwickshire captain, Will Rhodes, opted to bat on a pitch used for the Vitality Blast match between the two counties on Friday.

Worcestershire captain, Joe Leach, gave his side the perfect start when dismissing Rob Yates lbw in the first over without a run on the board.

Leach also found the edge of Malan’s bat when he had scored five only for the ball fell inches short of Fell at first slip, and at the other end, Finch bowled a probing opening spell.

There was warm applause after Baker’s introduction into the attack for the 11th over, and he bowled a tight opening over costing just two runs and an initial spell of 6-0-21-0.

Sibley had an escape on 24 when he nicked a delivery from Finch, but Daryl Mitchell at second slip was unable to cling onto the sharp low chance away to his left.

There was the rare sight of Worcestershire using three spinners before lunch on the opening day of a game in Baker, Sodhi and Brett D’Oliveira, but Malan and Sibley looked solid in reaching 110-1 at lunch.

Malan on 80 survived a confident lbw shout against Leach when he returned to the attack after the interval.

A cut for four off Finch took him to 99 before reaching three figures with a single off his next ball.

The South African went to three figures off 151 balls with a single off Finch, and it contained one six and 13 fours.

The Worcestershire attack continued to probe away on a wicket of good pace and were rewarded with two wickets in two overs at the start of the post-tea session.

Malan, on 141, went to pull a delivery from Sodhi, but the ball ballooned up to Mitchell, who took a comfortable catch at slip.

Finch gained some deserved reward in the next over as Sibley (80) tried to leg glance the paceman but edged through to keeper Ben Cox.

Then came Baker’s moment of glory as Hain went back to an arm ball and was leg before immediately before rain halted proceedings.