Friday, May 5th, 2023


Worcestershire pace bowler Josh Tongue picked up the prized scalps of Steve Smith and Cheteshwar Pujara on day two of the LV=Insurance County Championship match with Sussex at New Road.

Tongue dismissed former Australian captain Smith, who was making his Sussex debut, for 30 and then clinched a third bowling point by accounting for century-maker Pujara.

Tongue and Joe Leach each finished with three wickets, and there were two apiece for Ben Gibbon and Matthew Waite.

But Pujara’s fine knock, and support from the Sussex lower order, earned his side a first innings lead of 109 before they were bowled out for 373 in 89.2 overs.

Worcestershire will resume on day three on 34-1 in their second innings, with Ed Pollock on 16.

Sussex resumed on 63-1 and were instantly put on the back foot by Worcestershire after losing two wickets in the opening two overs of the day.

Tom Alsop tried to work Joe Leach to leg and was lbw to the final ball of the first over of the day.

Ali Orr then survived a chance to second slip but perished in the same over from Ben Gibbon when he edged a delivery which left him and was caught behind.

Orr’s dismissal brought in Smith, and there was a six-minute halt in proceedings before he had scored while a stem guard was attached to his helmet.

The former Australian captain needed 13 balls to get off the mark against some accurate bowling. 

It was Josh Tongue who accounted for Smith lbw with a ball which nipped back into him.

Tongue was delighted with the breakthrough as he clenched his fists at collecting such a prized wicket.

Gibbon struck for a second time in dismissing James Coles who aimed an ambitious flick through mid wicket and only succeeded in edging through to keeper Gareth Roderick.

The game was evenly poised at 147-5 shortly before lunch.

Pujara showed his class, and the Sussex captain completed a 92 ball half century with eight fours.

A partnership of 66 with Oli Carter was ended by a fine delivery from Matthew Waite, which pitched on middle stump and knocked out the off stump of the keeper-batter.

Pujara completed an excellent century with a single off Worcestershire Club Captain Brett D’Oliveira, who brought himself into the attack just before tea.

Waite trapped Hudson-Prentice lbw for 59 with the penultimate delivery before the second new ball was taken.

Ollie Robinson made 33 from 21 balls before he lofted Leach to long on where Jack Haynes took a fine catch after stepping over the boundary but throwing the ball back into play.

Tongue returned to end Pujara’s excellent innings by having him caught behind for 136 off 189 balls, and Leach wrapped up the innings in the next over with Harry Crocombe lbw.

Worcestershire were left a maximum of 16 overs batting, but a bad light interruption meant only 13 overs were possible, with Jake Libby (5) caught at sixth slip off Robinson.