Saturday, April 27th, 2024

Worcestershire vs Somerset: Day two report & highlights

Jake Libby continued his impressive start to the season for Worcestershire on a rain-shortened second day of the Vitality County Championship fixture with Somerset at Kidderminster.

Only 29 overs were possible – all during the afternoon session – but it was enough for Libby to move past the fifty mark for the fourth time in six innings this summer, including a century in the opening game against Warwickshire.

He has been tagged as Worcestershire’s ‘Mr Reliable’ by Head Coach Alan Richardson and has been a prolific performer since moving from Nottinghamshire to New Road four years ago.

Libby enjoyed his most successful summer in 2023 with 1153 runs at an average of 57.65 and he has continued in the same vein after helping Worcestershire to promotion.

He had one slice of luck when play eventually got underway at 2.50, being dropped on four at third slip of Migael Pretorious.

Libby had to contend with an impressive spell from Jake Ball but otherwise he and Gareth Roderick flourished during a second wicket stand so far worth 84 from 148 balls.

Roderick, his regular opening partner, got his head down to provide staunch support before play ended through bad light and then drizzle before the players could return after tea.

Morning rain led to an early lunch at 12.30 before play could finally get underway at 2.50 with a possible 54 overs remaining in the day.

Worcestershire resumed on 14-0 with nightwatchman Adam Finch and Libby having survived five overs yesterday evening.

Finch provided resistance for 35 balls, striking Migael Pretorious for a handsome straight four, before he was lbw to Ball on 17.

Libby and Gareth Roderick initially concentrated on defying some probing bowling with a still newish ball.

But the second wicket pair started to accelerate and Roderick steered Lewis Gregory to the third man boundary to bring up the 50 in the 20th over.

Libby flicked Gregory through mid wicket for four and then a back foot cover drive brought him another boundary off the next delivery.

Ball asked plenty of questions, barely conceding more than a run an over, but runs flowed from the other end.

Libby cover drove a rare loose ball from Ball for his ninth four to complete an 88 ball half century.

The 100 came up in the 31st over and Roderick showed his aggressive intentions in slashing Pretorious to third man.

Worcestershire Assistant Head Coach Kadeer Ali said: “Days like this can be really tricky, waiting around for three or four hours to get started and the conditions as well.

“I thought Libbs (Jake Libby) and Rodders (Gareth Roderick) played beautifully because that could have been a really tricky overs.

“The way they applied themselves, to put on 80 without being parted, we would have taken that.

“The nightwatchman Adam Finch works likes all the bowlers so hard on their batting and we saw it last year against Yorkshire when he and Ben Gibbon played beautifully.

“We have full faith in those guys down the order. Last night he was brilliant and for five or six overs today he looked more than a nightwatchman.

“Libby is getting better and better. His desire to get better and improve and work hard at his game is unbelievable.

“Hopefully he carries on tomorrow and gets another big score.”