Steve Rhodes saluted a superb double hundred from Worcestershire skipper Daryl Mitchell and believes the opener is getting back to his best as his side seized control against Hampshire at New Road.

Worcestershire amassed 478 – their highest total of the season – in their first innings and then picked up three Hampshire wickets for 86 by the end of the second day of the LV = County Championship Division One clash.

Mitchell went to his double ton off 408 balls with his 25th four and batted in total for nine hours in making 206 not out.

It was the 200 of his career and only surpassed by his career best 298 against Somerset at Taunton six years ago.

Director of Cricket Rhodes said: "I'm really pleased with the day's play. Ben Cox and Mitch's partnership was a good one. It gave us a real solid foundation then it was followed on by Joe Leach and Shants and Saeed and even Charlie (Morris) and Mitch.

"They all put together partnerships which meant we got a very sizeable total. Then to get the three wickets tonight was fantastic and I thought our runs per over shows how well we bowled.

"It won't be easy but we are well on the way to taking a few of these first innings wickets but I think the day was special for Daryl Mitchell.

"He has batted 140 overs or so, all the way through for a marvellous double century and thoroughly deserves all the accolades you can give him because he has had a tough season himself.

"He has come through some tough times and in typical, dogged Daryl Mitchell fashion, he has shown his real class here with a marvellous undefeated double century.

"Mitch has gone through some stages recently where he has had some fighting innings where he has not been particularly comfortable at the crease but he has managed to be effective for us and score some runs.

"This game he has been far more fluent, far more better organised and I think he has found his touch a little bit and that is good news for the rest of the season."

Ajmal claimed the wicket of Michael Carberry shortly before the close after Sean Terry and Jimmy Adams had fallen to Charlie Morris and Joe Leach respetively.

Rhodes said: "Is the wicket going to spin? I think the bounce is lower which, if it does turn a bit and the bounce is lower, that will be very difficult for the Hampshire batsmen.

"You can certainly bat on it as Daryl proved but the seamers will be particularly dangerous because our seam bowlers can bowl straight and hopefully if the bounce does get lower, it will be a little bit more difficult for the Hampshire batsmen.

"With four day cricket and the division we are playing in, we have to play at 100% all of the time to win games and sometimes we have dropped off a little bit.

"But it's not through lack of effort and once again we have started a match in tremendous fashion and we will hope we can now create and take 17 chances.

"If we can do that then we all know the result. It won't be easy but the lads are not shy of hard work and I'm very optimistic they will keep going to the very end in this match."