Worcestershire take firm grip on first day against Notts

SUNDAY cricket round-up.
SUNDAY cricket round-up.
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Worcestershire took a firm grip on the first day of their LV= County Championship Division One game against hosts Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

Having chosen to bowl first, on a wicket that certainly had its moments, they finished the day in a strong position after bowling out their hosts for 240, in two sessions.

Openers Daryl Mitchell and Richard Oliver put on 83 for the first wicket after tea, to leave the visitors trailing by 151 runs with eight first innings wickets in tact.

During a morning of mixed fortunes, Worcestershire took the key wickets of Michael Lumb and Alex Hales, but missed out on the scalp of Brendan Taylor, who having been dropped at gully on 25, passed 50 for the fourth time in the Championship this summer.

Still, if the morning session had finished with honours even, the afternoon certainly belonged to Worcestershire and in particular, Charlie Morris.

With James Taylor and namesake Brendan having already departed, Samit Patel became the 22-year-old’s 100th first class wicket, at 159 for 5. Chris Read and Brett Hutton followed in quick succession and when Ed Barnard had Ben Hilfenhaus caught at slip by Alex Gidman, Notts had lost four wickets for just 11 runs in 33 balls.

Riki Wessels, who saw Luke Fletcher inexplicably run out from the deep wicket boundary by Barnard, continued to rise above the mediocrity of his team-mates and duly posted his half century, with his ninth four, off the final ball of the 62nd over.

However, despite adding 50 for the 10th wicket, with Andy Carter, Wessels finally ran out of patience and gave Saeed Ajmal his one and only wicket of the innings, caught at deep mid wicket, for 65, off 94 balls. He hit seven fours and one six.

It was the 36th time in the last 37 games that Worcestershire had taken maximum bowling points and the ninth time in their last 11 innings that Notts had failed to reach 250. Morris finished with 3 for 70 whilst Jack Shantry and Joe Leach picked up two wickets apiece.

The visitors made steady progress after tea, whilst Notts were left to wonder what might have been had Hales have held on to a regulation slip catch off Mitchell when the visiting captain had made just eight.

Hutton and Hilfenhaus tried their best to find a way through and the former finally snared his man – Mitchell lbw for 25 at 83 for 1. However, Oliver passed 50 off 91 balls and though nightwatchman Morris was bowled by Hilfenhaus off the final ball of the day, Worcestershire can be pretty pleased with their day’s work.