Daryl Mitchell’s second Championship hundred of the season led Worcestershire to 295-8 after the first day of their LV= County Championship match against Middlesex at New Road.
Worcestershire made two changes to the side which lost against Durham, with Alexei Kervezee and Ben Cox replacing Vikram Solanki and Ben Scott, and under sunny skies were put into bat by the visitors.
Phil Hughes hit 6 fours in the first 6 overs before he was caught, playing the pull shot, by Ravi Patel at long leg off Toby Roland-Jones for 34 off 28 balls, with the score on 40-1 in the 8th over. Then Roland-Jones got the wickets of both Matt Pardoe, trapped lbw for 5, and Moeen Ali, edging behind to Adam Rossington for 0, to leave Worcestershire on 52-3 after 16 overs.
Mitchell and Kervezee then steadied the ship as they took Worcestershire to lunch on 104-3 after 30 overs and then their partnership continued in the afternoon session as Mitchell reached his 50 off 128 balls, with 5 fours, and Kervezee getting to his 50 off 86 balls, with 5 fours. Their fourth wicket partnership had reached 114 when Kervezee played a tame drive straight to Roland-Jones at mid-on off Neil Dexter for 55 off 96 balls, with 6 fours. Neil Pinner was the fifth wicket to fall when he was caught by Sam Robson at short leg off Patel for 7 and at tea Worcestershire were 186-5 after 64 overs.
In the evening session Joe Leach was bowled by Steven Crook for 10 and Cox was trapped lbw off Tim Murtagh for 18, with the score on 243-7 in the 85th over, but Mitchell’s patience was rewarded when he reached his 100 off 273 balls, with 9 fours, to record his 12th first-class hundred and only his third at New Road. Gareth Andrew was caught by Robson at second slip off Roland-Jones for 6, with the score on 262-8, and then Mitchell and Chris Russell’s unbeaten ninth-wicket partnership of 33 took Worcestershire to 295-8 at the close of play, with Mitchell on a brilliant 129 off 306 balls, with 13 fours.
Worcestershire captain Daryl Mitchell spoke to BBC Hereford & Worcester's Trevor Owens after the first day's play against Middlesex;
To listen to the interview please click here
On a truncated second day at New Road Middlesex were 49-0 at stumps in reply to Worcestershire's 323.
Rain meant that play didn't get underway until 4:30pm and, resuming on 295-8, Worcestershire got to 300 when Chris Russell struck a 4 through the off-side. Russell was out for 14 when he edged to Dawid Malan at first slip off Toby Roland-Jones, with the score on 302-9, and then a brief cameo from Alan Richardson, with 4 fours from his 18 off 11 balls, before he was bowled by Tim Murtagh took Worcestershire to 323 all out off 102.3 overs, with Daryl Mitchell unbeaten on a magnificent 133 off 323 balls, with 13 fours, and becoming the second Worcestershire batsman this season, after Phil Hughes at Edgbaston, to carry his bat in an all out innings in the Championship.
Middlesex initially had 23 overs left in the day to bat and Chris Rogers (17*) and Sam Robson (27*), who was dropped by Moeen Ali at first slip when on 21, took the visitors to 49-0 off 13 overs before the rain returned at 6pm to bring the second day's proceedings to an end.
Worcestershire were 44-3 in their second innings, leading by 61 runs, after the third day of their LV= County Championship match against Middlesex at New Road.
Resuming on 49-0 Middlesex added 6 runs before Chris Rogers was caught behind by Ben Cox off Alan Richardson for 22 in the 5th over of the day. Then Richardson bowled Joe Denly for 4 and took a return catch to remove Dawid Malan for 0, to pick up his 50th Championship wicket of the season, as Middlesex were reduced to 61-3 in the 22nd over but Sam Robson and Neil Dexter then steered the visitors along as Robson reached his 50 off 108 balls, with 9 fours, and the visitors went to lunch on 140-3 off 44 overs.
After lunch their partnership went to 100 in the 53rd over but then in the next over the partnership had ended on 106 when Robson was caught by Matt Pardoe at short-leg off Moeen Ali for 72 off 157 balls, with 11 fours. Dexter then got to his 50 off 106 balls, with 8 fours, before Adam Rossington was trapped lbw by Gareth Andrew for 6, with the score on 181-5 in the 59th over, and then Dexter and Gareth Berg added on 60 runs for the sixth wicket until a brief shower took the players off the field and tea was immediately taken, with the score on 241-5 in the 77th over.
The first ball after tea saw the end of the partnership when Berg edged to Ali at first slip off Chris Russell for 30 and then Dexter departed 3 overs later when he was bowled by Joe Leach for 90 off 190 balls, with 12 fours, to leave Middlesex on 249-7 in the 80th over. Then with the new ball Richardson bowled Toby Roland-Jones for 6 and Russell took the final two wickets as he bowled Steven Crook for 22 and then taking a return catch to dismiss Tim Murtagh for 6 as Middlesex were all out for 306 off 90.1 overs, with Ravi Patel unbeaten on 19.
Richardson ended up with figures of 4-62 off 27 overs, Russell took 3-86 off 21.1 overs and the other three Worcestershire bowlers, Andrew (1-65 off 18 overs), Leach (1-28 off 10 overs) and Ali (1-38 off 14 overs) all got themselves in the wickets column.
With a lead of 17 runs Worcestershire were left with 16 overs to bat on the third evening but they were soon in trouble on 6-2 in the 3rd over as Phil Hughes and Daryl Mitchell were both trapped lbw for 1 off Roland-Jones and Murtagh respectively.
Ali and Pardoe took the home side to 42-2 off 10 overs before another brief shower took the players off the field but after the break Ali edged behind to Rossington off Roland-Jones for 20, with the score on 44-3 in the 13th over. Pardoe (22*) and nightwatchman Russell (0*) then saw out the remaining overs as Worcestershire ended the day on 44-3 off 16 overs, with an overall lead of 61 runs.
Worcestershire's director of cricket Steve Rhodes spoke to BBC Hereford & Worcester's Dave Bradley after the third day's play against Middlesex;
To listen to the interview please click here
Worcestershire were beaten by five wickets against Middlesex at New Road to leave them 18 points adrift of 7th-placed Surrey, with 2 matches left to play in Division One of the LV= County Championship.
Worcestershire resumed on 44-3 but soon lost Matt Pardoe for 28 when he was trapped lbw by Toby Roland-Jones, with the score on 63-4 in the 23rd over. Nightwatchman Chris Russell scored a first-class career-best 22 before he was bowled by Ravi Patel, with the score on 92-5 after 32 overs, and then Roland-Jones took two more wickets as he bowled Neil Pinner for 7 and had Joe Leach caught in the slips by Joe Denly for 4 to leave Worcestershire struggling on 106-7 in the 39th over, a lead of 123 runs.
Alexei Kervezee and Ben Cox added 19 runs before lunch, with the home side on 125-7 off 47 overs, a lead of 142 runs, but after lunch their eighth-wicket partnership of 37 ended when Cox was trapped lbw by Steven Crook for 12. Kervezee then reached his 50 off 91 balls, with 3 fours, and along with Gareth Andrew the lead went past 200 runs. But then in the 63rd over Andrew was caught at deep mid-wicket by Gareth Berg off Crook for 26 and Alan Richardson was run out two balls later for 0 and Worcestershire were all out for 186 off 62.4 overs, with Kervezee undefeated on 64 off 112 balls, with 5 fours, and Roland-Jones taking 5-46 to end up with match figures of 10-118.
Middlesex required 204 runs to win off a minimum of 47 overs and they lost Chris Rogers in the 9th over when Richardson, who earlier thought he had Rogers caught & bowled, was trapped lbw for 15, with the score on 21-1. The visitors went to tea on 27-1 off 12 overs and then in the evening session Sam Robson and Denly pushed the visitors towards their target despite Robson being dropped in the slips by Phil Hughes and Denly hitting a skier to mid-off, which was dropped by Kervezee, with both chances coming off the luckless Richardson.
Their second-wicket partnership eventually ended on 77 when Robson edged to Moeen Ali at first slip off Andrew for 35 and then in the next over Denly top-edged a sweep and was caught by Cox off Ali for 48 to leave the visitors on 102-3 in the 30th over. Then Dawid Malan and Crook added 50 for the fourth wicket in 8 overs until Malan hit a lofted off-drive from Ali and was caught by a diving Hughes at long-off for 22, with the score on 152-4 in the 38th over. 4 overs later Crook hit a pull shot straight to Kervezee at deep mid-wicket off Russell for 30, with the score on 172-5 in the 42nd over, but Berg (26*) and Neil Dexter (15*) in gloomy conditions kept their nerve as they both scored 1 four and 1 six in their unbeaten sixth-wicket partnership of 33 and the victory was completed by Middlesex in the penultimate over of the match, with a no-ball from Russell, as they ended up on 205-5 off 45.1 overs.
For Worcestershire Ali was the leading wicket-taker with 2-49 off 10 overs and there was 1 wicket each for Andrew (1-34 off 5 overs), Russell (1-39 off 10.1 overs) and Richardson (1-64 off 18 overs).
WORCESTERSHIRE (323 & 186) LOST TO MIDDLESEX (306 & 205-5) BY 5 WICKETS
Worcestershire's director of cricket Steve Rhodes spoke to BBC Hereford & Worcester's Dave Bradley after their defeat against Middlesex;
To listen to the interview please click here