Worcestershire County Cricket Club’s top order combined tremendous fighting skills with high quality batting on day three of the LV=Insurance County Championship match with Essex at New Road.
Openers Daryl Mitchell and Jake Libby laid the initial foundations for the Worcestershire reply to Essex’s 561-8 declared with an opening partnership of 111.
Then, after the loss of three quick wickets to spinner Simon Harmer, the fourth wicket pair of Tom Fell and Brett D’Oliveira continued the superb work by adding another 111.
It was the kind of ideal response required by the County in their quest to repeat their heroics at Chelmsford in the opening game when securing a draw by batting through the final two days.
By the close, the sixth wicket pair of Riki Wessels and Ben Cox had added an unbroken 43 and steered them to 302-5 from 112 overs.
Worcestershire secured three batting points with seven balls to spare of the allotted 110 overs and now have a further eight points to fight for to preserve their unbeaten record on the final day tomorrow.
Once again the ability to bat for long periods installed into their red ball cricket last summer was evident.
Worcestershire resumed on 37-0 under cloudy skies.
Mitchell and Libby were initially watchful against the opening pace attack of Sam Cook and Peter Siddle.
Mitchell produced a handsome stroke in cover-driving Siddle for four to bring up the half century stand with Libby in the 22nd over.
Libby, who carried his bat for 180 in the drawn game at Chelmsford last month, moved into his stride with an off drive for three off Siddle and turned Cook off his legs for four.
Harmer was quickly introduced into the attack and Libby went down the wicket and lofted him for a straight six.
Mitchell completed an excellent half century when he went back and cut Shane Snater for his eighth boundary. It came off 127 balls.
The duo put on 111 in untroubled fashion before Libby went for a cut shot and was bowled on 41 by spinner Harmer.
Mitchell became Harmer’s second victim for 67 with Ryan ten Doeschate holding onto the chance at short leg with the total 132-2.
Gareth Roderick (0) pushed forward in the same over to Harmer and was bowled.
After a short rain break, in which none of the scheduled overs were lost, Worcestershire resumed on 135-3 from 45 overs at 2.10pm.
Siddle came back into the attack and Fell leg glanced the Australian paceman for four and then pulled him to the boundary to bring up the 150 – a shot he then repeated with the same result.
Fell also collected three boundaries in one over from Snater and the 50 stand with D’Oliveira was completed off only 87 deliveries.
D’Oliveira showed his class with a cover drive for four off Harmer who continued to probe away.
Worcestershire went through the entire afternoon session without losing a wicket and reached 219-3 by tea – a superb response to the trio of wickets just before lunch.
Fell completed his half century with the third ball of the final session, a delightful cover-drive at Harmer’s expense.
His second fifty of the summer was completed from 131 balls and contained eight boundaries.
D’Oliveira followed him to the same milestone with a back foot drive for two off Siddle from 115 balls, with five fours and it also completed the century partnership.
The stand was finally broken when Fell (53) nicked a Cook delivery which nipped away and was caught behind by Adam Wheater.
D’Oliveira (67) inadvertently steered a ball from Snater behind the wicket and Wheater pulled off a good catch.
But further resistance was provided by Wessels (24 not out) and Cox (23 not out) after joining forces at 259-5.