Club captain Joe Leach says Worcestershire will “scrap and fight as hard as we can” to reverse the fortunes of the opening two days in the Specsavers County Championship match with Middlesex at Blackfinch New Road.
The County were bowled out for 156 – a deficit of 65 on first innings – despite a last wicket stand of 40 between Leach (32 not out) and Charlie Morris (15).
Dawid Malan (107 not out) and Nick Gubbins (72 not out) shared an unbroken stand of 175 to steer Middlesex to 195-2 at the close in a 51 over final session after Leach had claimed two early wickets.
Leach said: “It was a tough day at the office. At the start of the day, we probably felt our noses were just ahead in the game.
“But it wasn’t to be. I thought (Tom) Helm bowled an outstanding spell, last night and then first thing this morning to knock over the guys who were set.
“We fought as hard as we could at the back end of the innings to try and cut the deficit to as little as possible.
“But again it was tough having to bowl 51 overs in the final session and it makes it really difficult when you lose momentum. We didn’t put the balls in the right areas enough to make it challenging and we paid the price for that ultimately.
“Up until this point, what Middlesex have done is bowl as a unit a bit better than we have. It’s certainly not through lack of effort and we’ve tried to do the right things but unfortunately our execution has been down so far this game.
“It’s unfortunate but it’s a good lesson for us. They are a Division One bowling attack. They won the title two years ago with more or less this attack.
“It’s good learning for us but it’s a bit raw and disappointing at the moment.”
Leach added: “With the way Mozza (Morris) and I negotiated that last wicket partnership (of 40) we wrestled back a little bit of momentum that we had given away in the morning.
“Charlie dug in really well. He is gritty and all of his characteristics were probably shown in that partnership. He faced bowling coming past his nose and, to get out to the leg spinner, he was probably a little bit unlucky after the way he played against the quick stuff.
“All credit to him. He has had a fantastic start to the season.
“We took the two early wickets and you think ‘here we go, we’re in’ but they played very well. I think the heavy roller might have had a little bit of an effect and seemed to make the pitch a little bit slower.
“To be honest, we will look at it and think we probably got them ‘in’ with the way we bowled. We weren’t very good to be honest for the first 20 overs and that’s disappointing.
“Over the course of a 14 game Championship you are going to have days like this. It’s not the end of the world. We are still a good side, we still believe that. We’ve still got good cricketers but sides play better than you on occasions.
“That’s not to say we are going to just give this game up now.
“We’ve got two days, we are going to have to scrap hard, look at worse to try and secure a draw and fight as hard as we can for that over the next 200 overs or how many it is.
“Then you never know. We’ve chased big scores here in recent history and if the pitch does flatten out, who knows what we can do second innings.”