Worcestershire CCC v Durham CCC Match Report
Worcestershire made a couple of changes to their line up for the LV= Championship match against Durham at New Road. With the injury to Daryl Mitchell the captaincy was given to Moeen Ali. Richard Jones came into the bowling attack in the place of Jack Shantry. Matt Pardoe was promoted to opener, which meant a Worcestershire debut for new signing Adrian Shankar.
The flood-lit match at Lord's the day before meant a late start at New Road. Durham won the toss and elected to bat first. There was a little bit of seam movement in the first few overs which seemed to be heightened after returning after an hours rain delay during the first session. Worcestershire picked up two wickets in the shortened opening session, both to slip catches. Michael Di Venuto was caught at 2nd slip by Moeen Ali for 8 off the bowling of Damien Wright. The following over Will Smith was caught at 1st slip by Vikram Solanki for 12 off Alan Richardson. The visitors reached lunch on 41-2.
In the first over after lunch Worcestershire picked up their 3rd wicket from a run-out thanks to a mix up in calling between the Durham batsman which resulted in both of them ending up at the same end of the pitch. Ben Stokes was the unlucky man to go having made 5.
Gordon Muchall and Dale Benkenstein made a solid 4th wicket stand of 74 before Gareth Andrew found the outside edge of Benkenstein's bat giving a another catch to Solanki for 33. At 118-4 Worcestershire were making reasonable progress but as has happened before they were not able to capitalise on the situation with the rest of the bowling attack, apart from the openers of Richardson and Wright, not able to maintain pressure on the Durham batsman. Muchall in particular looked in fine form with a very fluent innings.
From 188-4 Durham finished the day on 360-4, in doing so recording a record 5th wicket stand for the visitors. Gordon Muchall finished the day on 152* and his partner Ian Blackwell 130*. The home side regretted dropping Muchall on 52. He also survived a close run out attempt and Blackwell gave one half chance of a catch when he top edged a ball from Gareth Andrew but overall it was a long day in the field for Worcestershire and a very late finish to the day at almost 8pm. With the new ball just three overs old hopefully the home side will take early wickets to prevent Durham increasing their advantage even more.
Close of Play Day 1: Durham 360-4 (83 overs).
Durham finished the second day of the LV= Championship match at New Road in a very strong position with Worcestershire facing a huge challenge just to save the match.
Worcestershire made an early breakthrough on the second day with Damien Wright picking up a wicket in the second over the day clean bowling Ian Blackwell for 134, completing a 5th wicket record partnership of 247 with Gordon Muchall. Muchall carried on his innings in much the same way as on the first day, now in partnership with Phil Mustard. Muchall made 175 before edging a catch to Vikram Solanki who safely held on to it, giving Richard Jones his first wicket of the match. The visitors reached the lunch interval on 490-6.
After lunch it was a case of when, not if, a declaration was made. Mustard was joined in a 7th wicket stand of 154 with Scott Borthwick. Mustard scored 101, the third Durham centurion of the innings, before Solanki picked up his 4th catch of the innings off the bowling of Moeen Ali. Callum Thorp hit a quick fire 22 to allow Durham to declare their innings closed on 587-7 with Borthwick unbeaten on 67*. In the nine overs before the tea interval Stephen Harmison had removed both of the Worcestershire openers within the space of eight balls as the home side went into the interval on 31-2.
In the final session of the day the Durham bowlers made further inroads into the Worcestershire batting line up. Solanki was cleaned bowled by Ruel Brathwaite and less than two overs later Alexei Kervezee fell to a stunning catch at cover point by the substitute fielder Ben Raine, his second catch of the innings.
Harmison returned for a spell just before the close and tempted Moeen Ali into a leg side catch to Mustard after a defiant innings of 46 from 93 deliveries, giving Harmison his third wicket of the innings so far. Adrian Shankar making his First Class debut was left unbeaten on 10* at the close of play after ma. The home side reached the close of play on 105-5 still trailing by 482 runs with two days left to play.
Close of Play Day 2: Worcestershire (105-5) trail Durham (587-7 dec.) by 482 runs.
The third day of the LV= Championship match at New Road started badly for the home side when Adrian Shankar, one of the not out batsman, was injured during warm up and looks unlikely to play any further part in the match. Ben Scott started the days play in partnership with Gareth Andrew. Stephen Harmison opened the bowling for the visitors and picked up the wicket of Andrew, caught down the leg side by Philip Mustard for 27.
Damien Wright hit a forceful innings, making a quick fire 27 off 29 deliveries with six boundaries before being caught at gully by Callum Thorp off Ruel Brathwaite. Shortly after Scott's dogged innings of 37 came to an end, bowled off an inside edge off Ben Stokes. Worcestershire were dismissed for 217 just before lunch and were asked to follow on still 368 runs behind Durham's total with Harmison finishing on 4-67In the six overs before the lunch interval the home side reached 20-0.
After lunch the Worcestershire openers looked to build a solid opening partnership and had just reached 50 before Cameron edged a catch to Michael Di Venuto off the bowling of Ian Blackwell for 20.
The only other wicket to fall in the afternoon session was that of Matt Pardoe, caught at short leg by Will Smith for 38, again off Blackwell. By tea Worcestershire had reached 149-2 with Vikram Solanki passing his 50 just before the interval.
For a stage either side of the tea interval Solanki and Moeen Ali looked in control, both playing stylish shots, playing positive to score runs rather than be extra defensive. The 3rd wicket stand of 64 came to an end shortly after the resumption after tea when Solanki dragged a ball from Harmison onto his stumps for 58. Ben Stokes found some extra pace to draw an outside edge to the keeper Mustard when Moeen had made 63 to give the visitors' a hope to finish the game early. However a solid unbroken 6th wicket stand of 65 between Scott (30*) and Andrew (33*) helped the home side reach the close of play.
By close Worcestershire had got within 99 runs of making Durham bat again on 271-5. With a new ball due within 10 overs on the final day a draw may look very unlikely for the home side but there is still chance to provide stubborn resistance for as long as possible after producing a better batting performance second time around.
Close of Play Day 3: Worcestershire (217 & 271-5) trail Durham (587-7 dec.) by 99 with 5 second innings wickets remaining.
It took just under an hours play on the final day for Durham to complete a comprehensive win over Worcestershire at New Road in in LV= County Championship.
Worcestershire started the day requiring 99 more runs to make Durham bat again. Gareth Andrew looked to play some confident shots early in the day, including one huge six off Scott Borthwick. However immediately after reaching his 50 he was tempted into one shot too many and was caught on the deep mid wicket boundary by Ben Stokes for 50 off the bowling of Borthwick. Damien Wright was caught & bowled the very next delivery by Borthwick. Just to complete a rather surreal period of play for the home side Richard Jones was run out three balls later by Ben Stokes attempting a second run that was never on. The home side went from 290-5 to 291-8 in the space of 4 balls.
The ever reliable Ben Scott provided some resistance at the other end and frustrated the Durham bowlers in a last wicket stand of 54 with Alan Richardson. Scott hit some excellent cover drives in his entertaining innings of 73 which eventually was brought to an end via a slip catch to Stokes off the bowling of Stephen Harmison.
With Adrian Shankar unable to bat Worcestershire were all out for 345 giving Durham the victory by an innings and 35 runs.
Result: Worcestershire (217 & 345) lost to Durham (587-7 dec.) by an innings and 25 runs.
Durham 24 points. Worcestershire 3 points.