Steve Rhodes praised the way Ed Barnard has bowled in Specsavers County Championship cricket after he returned his career best figures.

Barnard bowled a deadly mid afternoon spell on day two against Gloucestershire at New Road which brought him three wickets in four overs.

He finished with 4-23 as Gloucestershire were bowled out for 258 – giving Worcestershire a lead of 105 – which was extended to 115 by the close with 10 wickets still in hand.

Barnard, who also impressed with the ball at Cheltenham last month and against Sussex, has now over-taken his Championship wicket tally of 31 last season.

Director of Cricket Rhodes said: “Ed Barnard’s four wicket haul was full of effort and skill as well on a flattish wicket for seamers.

“Ed took a little bit of a hammering in the T20 – like a lot of seamers did – but, with that red ball in his hand, he has come back strong.”

On Worcestershire’s overall performance, Rhodes said: “On Gloucestershire’s side, I thought Jack Taylor once again played an excellent innings and he really does enjoy batting against us.

“He has got a world class spinner (Ashwin) bowling at him and he coped with him really well but I thought we stuck to it excellently.

“Both George (Rhodes) and Ashwin bowled well. It possibly just didn’t quite go our way. A couple of nicks were difficult ones and possibly the odd lbw (decision).”

The pitch is a used one but has played well in the opening two days with more than 600 runs and 20 wickets.

Rhodes said: “The pitch, if you look at it, it is a little bit like a sub-continent wicket in the way it’s generally an easy sort of pace but then suddenly one might occasionally jump and then one might keep low.

“But it’s proved that if you can play straight, then you can hang around and score runs on it, and it’s been good entertainment.

“It’s been interesting entertainment for the crowd and 600 odd runs. It’s playing pretty even at the moment.

“We’ve got to do those small things well tomorrow, put together those 50 partnerships and buid on them and try and get a decent score and bowl them out again.

“The footholds should get a little bit bigger and more of them and let’s hope the ball spits when it pitches in those footholds.”