Saturday, April 20th, 2024

Worcestershire vs Durham: Day two report & highlights

Jake Libby was again the mainstay of the Worcestershire first innings with a composed 61 on the second day of the Vitality County Championship match with Durham at Kidderminster.

But the home side are facing a challenging two days after Durham reached 319-5  in their second innings – an overall lead of 379 – thanks largely to a century from David Bedingham (138)

Libby has amassed 400 runs at an average of 100 in the last four Championship matches spanning the end of last season and the start of 2024.

He is continuing the form which has made him the leading run-scorer in first class cricket during the current decade.

Nathan Smith again showed his batting qualities in making an undefeated 33 and there was late resistance from Adam Finch as the last two wickets added 47 valuable runs.

Smith also picked up two more wickets to take his tally for the season to 13 but Scott Borthwick and Bedingham added 195 in 34 overs for the third wicket.

Worcestershire resumed on 78 for four with Libby and Jason Holder the not out batters.

Holder did the bulk of the early scoring, cover driving Ben Raine and Matthew Potts for boundaries, and then pulling the former for a big six over mid-wicket.

The West Indies all-rounder had moved onto 18 when he was bowled pushing forward to Raine who then had Matthew Waite (0) caught behind after he nibbled at a delivery.

Libby completed an accomplished half century off 101 balls with seven fours with a single off Raine and then cut Bas de Leede to the ropes after he came into the attack.

New batter Smith survived a chance at first slip off Paul Coughlin when on 11.

Libby’s determined knocked ended when he shouldered arms and was bowled by Coughlin.

Josh Baker then tried to duck out of the way of a de Leede bouncer but the ball rebounded off his helmet onto his stumps.

Smith turned Coughlin to the third man boundary and leg glanced Raine for four to bring up the 150.

Joe Leach (7) helped him add 19 runs before he departed to a superb one handed catch by David Bedingham at mid wicket off Potts.

But there was further resistance from the last wicket pair of Smith and Adam Finch.

Finch (18) produced a fine stroke to straight drive Potts for four before he was lbw to the same bowler aiming a stroke to leg.

It left Smith unbeaten on 33 from 64 balls after his excellent half century against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

Smith then made the first breakthrough with the ball when Durham began batting for a second time after lunch.

Alex Lees (94) played back and only succeeded in steering Smith to Holder at second slip.

Leach swapped to the Railway End after an initial four over burst and disposed of Colin Ackermann (18) who nicked through to Gareth Roderick.

The Worcestershire attack stuck to their task but the Durham captain Scott Borthwick and David Bedingham accelerated in the final session.

Bedingham completed his hundred off 79 balls and the stand was worth 195 when another piece of fine fielding by Smith led to the breakthrough.

His throw from deep mid wicket arrowed over the stumps to bowler Matthew Waite and Borthwick (75) was run out attempting a second run.

Paul Coughlin was promoted to try and maintain the momentum but he feathered Finch through to Roderick attempting a square cut.

Bedingham’s superb knock eventually ended when he sliced Smith on the off side and Adam Hose took an excellent catch on the cover boundary.

Jake Libby said: “To be fair, David Bellingham played a top knock there and was the difference. I don’t think we saw it going that way at one stage but you’ve got to give him credit.

“The pitch did flatten out. The next heavy roller did have an effect on it but we are still in this game and two big days ahead.

“We got partnerships going but no real meaningful ones. I think we were disappointed not to get up to their total and beyond and to walk off 60 behind.

“We’ve got our work cut out now but I’m backing the boys and hopefully another big innings in the second innings.

“With myself, it was just a lapse of concentration when I got out more than anything. They bowled really well, put it in good areas and there was a little bit on offer.

“It’s the sort of pitch I don’t think you are ever in on but we are confident we can chase whatever they set us tomorrow.”