Worcestershire skipper Joe Leach says it will be crucial to take early wickets with the new pink duke ball before it goes soft when Durham launch their second innings 170 runs in arrears in the Specsavers County Championship clash at the Emirates.

The County picked up four batting points in scoring 367 with Brett D'Oliveira top-scoring with 122 after bowling out Durham for 197.

But then rain intervened and prevented the county bowlers being able to test out the home batsmen in the evening session.

Leach told BBC Hereford-Worcester's Dave Bradley: "It is a real shame because we've put ourselves in a real good position thanks to the hard work of the batters and Brett in particular who played a fantastic innings and it's a shame we couldn't get out there in the evening.

"For us to be in the position we are, to get over 360 we are overjoyed with that effort on the pitch.

"It is a very good lead and we just need to go about putting the ball in the right area.

"In both innings, you've seen the pink ball goes soft very quickly and when it does, it does look difficult to take wickets.

"But 170 is a big lead and if we can make inroads with that new ball, then we are going to be in the pound seats.

"It was all looking like it was going to be the perfect storm, them being out in the field for a little while, fresh bowlers and a nice lead, but unfortunately it's not to be.

"We will have to do a little bit harder on day three but that's not a problem. A 170 run lead is one we are confident of being able to make inroads with."

In terms of the pink ball, Leach said: "It does go soft. It was a helpful pitch for the first hour and then very quickly it went softer and we had to work very hard for our wickets.

"Hence the tactic when we batted to send myself and John Hastings in, sloggers really, to make the ball go soft and make it easier for the likes of Moeen, Coxy and the middle order.

"We think it has worked and that new ball period in the third innings, when we get a chance to bowl, it will be crucial because we do need to take wickets with it."