DAY 1 - MASON SAYS "BRAVE DECISION" TO BOWL PAYS OFF VERSUS NORTHANTS

Assistant coach Matt Mason said Worcestershire’s “brave decision to bowl first” turned out to be right move after they dominated the opening day of the Specsavers County Championship clash with Northamptonshire at Wantage Road.

Joe Leach and Jack Shantry picked up three wickets apiece as Northants were bowled out for 238 in 64.1 overs.

Then Daryl Mitchell followed his 120 against Derbyshire with an unbeaten 52 after sharing an opening stand of 77 with Brett D’Oliveira as Worcestershire closed on 108-2 from 31 overs.

Mason said: “It was a really good day for us in the end because, to be honest,when we turned up and we saw the wicket,we had a lot of discussions as a group about what we should do.

“It had a lot of grass on it, a lot of dead grass, although they cut it down a little bit before the start of play.

“We just had a feeling with the grass coverage it had, if it was going to do anything then it would be first thing so we took the brave decision I think to bowl first – and it turned out to be right decision.

“The wicket seemed to go through little periods of doing a bit and then it seemed really flat at times.

“The key to our success was sticking to our guns, sticking to our plans, trying to hit the pitch in good areas and getting the rewards and the guys did that as a bowling unit rather than anyone standing out on their own.

“The guys bowled very well on it and then to get the partnership we got (between Mitchell and D’Oliveira) and to have over 100 runs with only two wickets down showed it was a good decision (to bowl) in the end.”

Leach brought spinner Nathan Lyon into the action as early as the eighth over.

Mason said: “When you have got an international spinner, and a class player like Nathan, you just think it is worth throwing him in the game early to havea look. You just never know.

“Again it was a really good example of Leachy’s forward thinking as a captain because you win the toss and bowl, you think it is going to be seaming everywhere, so to get a spinner on quickly, hopefully put them a bit under the pump as well.

“As it turned out, it didn’t do what we thought for Nath so we put the seamers back on.

“Once again all the bowling unit all chipped in? They have done all year. That’s what has been a terrific thing. Obviously Leachy has stood out for the most part but generally as rule they do stick together as a unit.

“They know what they have to do, they keep things very simple and all I’m all I’m happy about the way they are going about their business and they are getting the results they deserve.”

On Worcestershire’s reply, Mason said: “Really good batting. The way Mitch and Dolly started, it was so positive.

“They put them on the back foot straight away and looked really composed.

“The ball that got Dolly out, it was a little bit unlucky, it nipped back and skidded on him a bit. He was disappointed but that was a good ball that got him.

“We will look to push on tomorrow and get past them and put them under some scoreboard pressure.

“Will we look to bat all day? I think so. It will depend on how we start and then we can assess as the day goes on.

“We will see how the first hour goes in the morning and then we will assess the game from there.

“Ideally we’d like to target maximum batting points I would have thought and then see what we need to do.”

DAY 2 - MITCHELL HITS SUPERB 161 AS WORCS TAKE CONTROL AT NORTHAMPTON

Daryl Mitchell hit a superb 161 and completed back to back Specsavers County Championship centuries as Worcestershire secured maximum batting points on the second day of the clash with Northamptonshire at Wantage Road.

The opening batsman followed up his 120 against Derbyshire at the 3aaa County Ground by reaching three figures off 164 balls with 11 fours as Worcestershire totalled 434 – a lead of 196.

Then skipper Joe Leach and Josh Tongue both struck an early blow in dismissing Northants opener Max Holden (6) and skipper Alex Wakely (16).

The home side closed on 53-2 – still 143 in arrears.

Mitchell went to his 26th first class ton with a three through mid wicket off spinner Graeme White.

It was another splendid innings by the 33-year-old who gave just one chance in completing his century.

He shared in a fourth wicket stand of 169 in 46 overs with Tom Kohler-Cadmore (76).

Mitchell’s 244 ball innings finally when he was trapped lbw by Nathan Buck after hitting 19 fours with the total 317-5 in the 89th over.

Leach and Jack Shantry bludgeoned 69 for the ninth wicket to ram home the advantage.

Mitchell said: “Northants have actually been a bit of a bogey team for me until the last couple of years so it’s nice to get a few.

“To get 400 is always our target and we got there with a couple of decent partnerships.

“Tom (Kohler-Cadmore) came in and played a really important knock, he’s good to bat with and that was an enjoyable stand.

“We’ve had two good days here and got a big lead on a deteriorating pitch so hopefully we can press home the advantage on Sunday.”

Worcestershire resumed on 108-2 in reply to Northants 238 all out with Mitchell unbeaten on 52 and Joe Clarke 17.

Mitchell looked in good touch and on drove and cover drove Buck for early boundaries.

A boundary by Clarke through the covers off Rory Kleinveldt brought up the 50 partnership with Mitchell in 22 overs.

But after making 24 Clarke could not get his bat down on time on a Kleinveldt delivery and was bowled at 130-3 in the 38th over.

Mitchell on 61 survived a sharp chance off Ben Sanderson with Alex Wakely at second slip unable to hold on after diving away to his right.

He rubbed salt into the bowler’s wound by crashing the next delivery through the covers for another four.

Kohler-Cadmore looked in good nick and greeted a change of ends for Buck by collecting successive boundaries.

The 50 partnership came up in 14 overs before Mitchell completed his hundred and Worcestershire secured their first batting bonus point in the 59th over via Kohler-Cadmore’s off drive to the ropes at Buck’s expense.

Worcestershire reached 214-3 off 61 overs by lunch.

Mitchell and Kohler-Cadmore completed a century stand in 26 overs and Kohler-Cadmore’s own fifty came off 101 balls with seven fours.

A square cut for four by Mitchell off Graeme White steered Worcestershire into a first innings lead.

The runs continued to flow and a single off White enabled Mitchell to complete his 150 from 221 deliveries with 17 boundaries.

The second new ball was taken instantly after 80 overs and Kohler-Cadmore immediately had a let off on 75 as Ben Duckett at first slip spilled a straightforward chance off Kleinveldt.

But he was able to add only one more run before losing his middle stump to Sanderson. Kohler-Cadmore had batted with plenty of responsibility and struck 10 fours in his 159 ball innings.

Then came the end of Mitchell’s latest significant contribution as Worcestershire pursued maximum batting points.

Ben Cox made a breezy 24 before he gloved a Buck delivery to Duckett at first slip from the final ball before tea at 352-6 in the 95th over.

Ed Barnard (9) was lbw to a delivery from Buck who then bowled Josh Tongue (1) to leave Worcestershire on 365-8.

But Leach and Shantry went on the offensive to great effect with some clean hitting which propelled Worcestershire  to maximum batting points in the 103rd over.

Leach smashed Max Holden for six over long off and then a cover drive for four off  Ben Sanderson took him to 50 off 34 balls with seven fours and a six.

He was bowled by the next delivery from Sanderson who ended the innings as Nathan Lyon departed lbw first ball.

Leach took the new ball and he cleaned up Holden with a pitched up delivery from around the wicket which knocked out the off stump with 10 on the board.

Tongue replaced Leach after a five over spell and he also broke through as Wakely (16) went for the hook and was caught by Shantry at deep fine leg at 42-2.

DAY 3 - TON-UP DARYL SAYS FIRST HOUR COULD BE CRUCIAL AT WANTAGE ROAD

Daryl Mitchell says the first hour could be crucial to Worcestershire’s victory hopes on the third day of the Specsavers County Championship clash with Northamptonshire at Wantage Road.

The home side will resume on 53-2 – still 143 in arrears – in their second innings on a deteriorating pitch after Mitchell scored 161 to steer Worcestershire to maximum batting points.

That followed on from the County also securing maximum bowling points in dismissing Northants for 238.

Mitchell told BBC Hereford-Worcester: “We’ve had two good days, to stick them in on the first day and bowl them out and then got off to a decent start with the bat on the first day, and then we continued in the same way on the second day.

“We’ve got a nice big lead on what is a deteriorating pitch so hopefully we can force home the advantage on the third day.

“It is a very difficult wicket to start on, a little bit of variable bounce which has slowly got worse as the game has gone on.”

Worcestershire removed Max Holden and Alex Wakely yesterday evening to Joe Leach and Josh Tongue respectively.

Mitchell said: “To get two of their top six out is important. It was a nice start with the ball.

“I thought we bowled pretty well again, got the ball in the right areas, and hopefully with a bit of a fresher wicket again first thing in the morning, hopefully with a bit of moisture in it, we can knock over a couple early.

“The new ball is quite important. It is only 18 overs old at the moment so the first hour is vitally important.

“If we can get enough balls in the right areas, hopefully the pitch will misbehave for us and we get a couple more wickets.

“Once you get past the 30-40 over mark, the ball gets softer and it is a little easier to bat.”

DAY 4 - RHODES: IMPORTANT TO CELEBRATE AND "KEEP PUTTING IN THE HARD GRAFT"

Steve Rhodes says it is important for Worcestershire’s players to celebrate their current success – but also to “keep putting in the hard graft” to boost their chances of further triumphs.

Worcestershire completed a resounding eight wicket win over Northamptonshire inside three days at Wantage Road.

It was their fourth successive win in the Specsavers County Championship – the first time they have put together such a sequence at the start of a campaign since the title win in 1964.

Director Of Cricket Rhodes said: “We are trying desperately to make sure we enjoy our successes but similarly make sure we keep putting in the hard graft and the hard work.

“We are very proud of what we are doing.

“One bad day in the season so far at Lancashire (in the Royal London One-DayCup) is an amazing effort.

“But we’ve got to make sure we keep doing those basics well and getting stuck in with practice, making sure we respect the oppositiion, and doing the hard yards to win games.

“If we can carry on doing that, we’ve got a chance of it continuing.”

Worcestershire were made to work hard for their success after Northants totalled 343 in their second innings.

But Daryl Mitchell’s unbeaten 78, to follow his first innings 161, ensured there were no alarms as victory was secured in the extra eight overs.

Rhodes said: “It was really hard work and they pushed us in that second innings because you didn’t want to chase too many runs on that wicket.

“I want to pay tribute to Daryl Mitchell, 240 runs in the match, and he spent a lot of time out there in difficult conditions.

“He thoroughly deserves all the praise he can get because it was a fine match in both innings for Daryl, seeing us home but also that big score in the first innings.

“The bowlers shared the wickets around and it was a real team effort with the ball. Nathan Lyon put in quite a stint but all the bowlers did well at times.

“They all contributed with wickets and Josh Tongue, with his pace, went aggressive which is a tactic we have been working on and he showed he has got some good pace.

“Also what is nice with the battting is they are definitely dove-tailing, and they are sharing the runs around a little bit.”

Lyon bowled for the best part of two sessions and was rewarded with three wickets.

Rhodes said: “It is really important for all the bowlers to get the overs under their belt but that would have been good for him to blow away any cobwebs there might have been.

“He hasn’t been doing a lot of bowling before he came here and I think he contributed with three very good wickets for us.”

SCORECARD

WAGON WHEEL

MANHATTAN

Match Information

Date:
26 May 2017
Match:
Venue:
The County Ground, Northampton
Start time:
11:00:00
Umpires:
Patrick Gustard / Martin Saggers
Toss:
Worcestershire elected to bowl.
Home Scorer
Anthony Kingston
Away Scorer
Phillip Mellish
Northamptonshire
238 All Out (64.1 overs)
Worcestershire
434 All Out (106.3 overs)
Northamptonshire
343 All Out (87.1 overs)
Worcestershire
151 / 2 (27.4 overs)
  • Northamptonshire
  • Ben Duckett
  • Max Holden
  • Alex Wakely
  • Rob Keogh
  • Adam Rossington
  • Richard Levi
  • Steven Crook
  • Rory Kleinveldt
  • Nathan Buck
  • Graeme White
  • Ben Sanderson
  • Worcestershire
  • Daryl Mitchell
  • Brett D'Oliveira
  • Tom Fell
  • Joe Clarke
  • Tom Kohler-Cadmore
  • Ben Cox
  • Ed Barnard
  • Joe Leach
  • Nathan Lyon
  • Jack Shantry
  • Josh Tongue