MITCHELL STARTS SEASON IN STYLE WITH SUPERB CENTURY IN DRAWN CLASH AT HAMPSHIRE
Skipper Daryl Mitchell began the season in superb style with a splendid century as Worcestershire enjoyed the better of the rain-ravaged draw with Hampshire in the LV County Championship at the Ageas Bowl.
Opener Mitchell, who signed a new three year contract during the winter, reached the 15th first class 100 of his career off 208 balls with 12 boundaries.
He finished unbeaten on 172 from 307 balls with 23 fours in a marathon effort spanning 402 minutes.
The 30-year-old showed his battling qualities in overcoming testing conditions during the early part of his innings before producing some impressive drives to help the county accumulate four batting bonus points.
It was the ideal start for Mitchell to his 10th season as a first team player at New Road.
There was little chance of a positive result after only eight overs were possible on the opening two days due to the elements.
But there were encouraging signs with bat and ball for the visitors who will next be in action against Kent at New Road starting on Sunday.
Worcestershire finished with a healthy return of 12 points – five for the draw (increased from three last season), the maximum three for bowling and four for batting.
The county resumed on 103-1 off 38 overs in reply to Hampshire's 263 all out and Mitchell and Moeen Ali continued their overnight partnership in untroubled fashion.
Moeen, in his first innings since returning from England duty, brought up the 200 with a boundary off Liam Dawson to secure Worcestershire's first batting bonus point.
But he was bowled by Dawson's next delivery for 69 off 144 balls with one six and nine fours after adding 154 in 47 overs with Mitchell.
His dismissal brought Tom Kohler-Cadmore to the wicket for his first innings in the County Championship and he got off the mark with a two to fine leg off Dawson.
It was to be the only scoring stroke of the newly crowned Wisden Young Schools Cricketer Of The Year before a mistimed drive off Dawson was caught by Hampshire skipper Jimmy Adams.
Mitchell lunched on 99 not out out of 213-3 off 68 overs but he soon brought up his three figures after the resumption with a three behind square off Matt Coles from 208 balls with 12 boundaries.
Alexei Kervezee made 10 before a mishit against Will Smith led to his downfall via a fine catch from Dawson running back from square leg.
Ross Whiteley came to the wicket and a three off James Tomlinson clinched a second batting point in the 84th over.
He made 23 before scooping a delivery from Sean Ervine, who had taken the second new ball, to Adams who held onto a head high catch at extra cover with the total on 279.
Mitchell increased the scoring rate and three boundaries in an over from Ervine took him to his 150 off 280 balls with 21 fours.
The 300 came up in the next over – the 94th – before Ben Cox (8) and then Gareth Andrew (0), with a delivery which kept very low, were both trapped lbw in an over from Coles.
Mitchell advanced onto 170 by tea from 300 balls with 23 fours out of 330-7.
Then some lusty blows at the start of the final session by Jack Shantry (23 not out off 24 balls) pushed the total up to 350 at which point Mitchell promptly declared
Mitchell was soon involved in the action after Moeen and Matt Pardoe opened the bowling at the start of Hampshire's second innings to increase the over rate.
He took a tumbling catch at slip after England opener Michael Carberry (6) edged a ball from Moeen who bowled around the wicket to the left hander.
Hampshire finished on 27-1 from 17 overs before the two sides shook hands at 5pm.