Saturday, May 6th, 2023


Worcestershire pace bowler Josh Tongue says it is a great learning curve playing against international players such as Ollie Robinson, Steve Smith and Cheteshwar Pujara.

Tongue was impressed with England quick Robinson’s fine bowling performance on day one of the LV=Insurance County Championship match with Sussex at New Road.

He was then delighted to dismiss former Australian captain Steve Smith and century-maker and Indian star Pujara on day two.

The 25-year-old finished with three wickets and feels he is getting closer to being back to his best after his lengthy injury lay-off.

He said: “What’s it like bowling at world class players? I said to Ben Gibbon at mid-off ‘this is a bit surreal isn’t it bowling at Steve Smith and Cheteshwar Pujara’ but it was a nice feeling to get them both out.

“For whoever got Steve Smith out, it was going to be an amazing feeling, and that was the case for me.

“Pujara is one of the best batters in the world and very hard to bowl at because he leaves the ball so late.

“Even some of the nicks he played weren’t even going to hand, but it was such an amazing knock.

“Ollie Robinson is playing international cricket at the minute, so it is quite good watching how he goes about his business, and he bowled unbelievably.

“Playing against international players like Pujara, Smith, and Robinson, you learn a lot. It just shows what the standard is to play international cricket from county cricket.

“For me, it is nice to be back on the park enjoying my cricket. I’m probably not at my best at the minute, but I know it’s close.”

Tongue felt Worcestershire’s attack stuck to their task as they claimed maximum bowling points in dismissing Sussex for 373.

He said: “The pitch did get a bit flat in the morning session and also after lunch, but as a bowling unit we stuck at it and made sure we tried to make it as dry (of runs) as possible.

“They got away a bit, but I thought after tea especially we hit a good line and length and got our rewards at the end.”

Worcestershire will resume on 34-1 in their second innings on day three.

Tongue said: “We’ve got a good partnership in at the minute and let’s see where that takes us and the aim is to get a good lead and try and bowl them out.

“Feeling positive? With our batting unit, we bat down to eleven. Like I said, the pitch got a bit flat after lunch, and hopefully, that will be the same case for us tomorrow.

“They will come strong at us but try and get through that first hour and pile on the runs.”