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Recent Match Report – Worcestershire vs Durham, County Championship Division Two, 1st Innings

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Worcestershire 321 for 6 (Wessels 118, Whitely 62*, Dell 61) lead Durham 273 by 48 runs

With an impressive history of success across all formats, Riki Wessels was not short of possible destinations when he left Nottinghamshire at the end of last season. Yet he chose Worcester, much to the excitement of supporters who had seen his destructive qualities at first hand last summer.

Wessels smashed nine sixes in a Vitality Blast T20 match on this ground in August, in an 18-ball 55 that launched Nottinghamshire towards a five-wicket win, a rare setback in a campaign that ended with Worcestershire being crowned T20 champions for the first time.

New Road, he said, was his favourite ground outside Trent Bridge, which showed him to be a man of taste. As if to underline his liking for the place, he celebrated his first Championship appearance here by scoring his 23rd first-class hundred.

It was a typically energetic Wessels knock, one made with a constant eye for a gap in the field and a willingness to take the initiative. Before his arrival at the crease, Worcestershire were progressing at barely two an over against a disciplined and testing Durham attack. He doubled that almost on his own.

That is not intended as a criticism. Having lost Daryl Mitchell to the second ball of the innings on Tuesday evening, Worcestershire quickly suffered two more setbacks as a lively new ball spell from Matt Salisbury accounted for Tom Fell and nightwatchman Charlie Morris, leaving a rebuilding job in the hands of George Rhodes, whose struggle for form last year meant he had not played a Championship match in 11 months, and Josh Dell, a 21-year-old academy graduate making his debut. Their watchful approach was entirely the correct one.

Dell made a handsome start, executing a lovely late cut for four off Matthew Potts to get off the mark. The right-hander, born in the county at Tenbury Wells, was given his chance after carrying his bat for 131 in a Second XI match against a decent Lancashire attack last month, but he was never likely to imagine that the transition would be easy.

A Worcestershire collapse in the circumstances would not have been at all surprising but Rhodes and Dell stood firm and taking their side to 57 at lunch with no further losses was a commendable effort.

They were unable to maintain their defiance far into the afternoon session before Rhodes was pinned leg before by Ben Raine. But Dell was not to be shifted for some while, raising his bat to warm applause after his eighth boundary, steered to third man off Rushworth, took him to his half-century.

By this point he was playing second fiddle to Wessels, who had drawn on his depth of experience to take control away from Durham’s quintet of seamers for the first time in the day. He got into his stride with two consecutive boundaries off Salisbury and did the same to Potts in the next over.

Durham turned to Liam Trevaskis, a 20-year-old left-arm spinner playing in only his fourth first-class match, at which Wessels’s eyes lit up. Twice in four deliveries, he lofted the ball into the seats at the Diglis End, the second one ending in a dark corner somewhere and needing to be replaced.

Wessels was enjoying himself now. His fifty came up off 56 balls, including a third maximum off the unfortunate Trevaskis, and when he and Dell touched gloves to celebrate a 100-stand in 19 overs, Wessels had 73 of them.

Dell’s vigil ended on 61 off 175 balls when he was bowled by a ball of full length from Gareth Harte, before Wessels mistimed one to be caught at midwicket for 118 off 133.

Durham took the second new ball when it was due but did not profit from it. Instead, Ross Whiteley punished them for dropping him on five, when Salisbury spilled a boundary catch at long leg that sprang out of his hands as he landed, by muscling his way to an unbeaten 62, adding 85 unbroken with Ben Cox to give Worcestershire a lead of 48 to take into the third day.



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Kohli pleased with India’s lower-order fightback

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India’s fightback after being reduced to 39 for 4 was the positive Virat Kohli chose to look back after their emphatic loss to New Zealand in their first warm-up fixture at The Oval. In the absence of Vijay Shankar and Kedar Jadhav, India found a savior in Ravindra Jadeja, who top scored with a 50-ball 54 to haul India to 179.

Jadeja added 62 with Kuldeep Yadav for the eight wicket, allowing India to reach the 40-over mark, a prospect that looked unlikely when Trent Boult ran through the top order. Hardik Pandya’s brisk 30 led a brief revival, only for the innings to stutter again until Jadeja guided the lower order.

“Very good,” Kohli said of the lower-order contributions at the post-match presentation. “I mean, the one thing we spoke about in a tournament like the World Cup is, you could easily have your top order out for not too many, so the lower order has to look forward to that and I think Hardik [Pandya] batted really well. MS [Dhoni] absorbs the pressure really well and [Ravindra] Jadeja got a few runs as well, so I think from that point of view, we got a lot out of this game, which is what we wanted to. The lower order getting some runs that was the biggest positive.”

Kohli assessed the surface wasn’t as bowler-friendly in the second innings, after Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor put on a century stand to deflate India. New Zealand sealed victory with six wickets in hand and nearly 13 overs to spare.

“It’s going to be very different from batting second and we saw that in this [game] in the later half of our innings as well,” he said. “I think we bowled it in the right areas, they were going at about four, four-and-a-half, which I think we would take any day in a tournament where the pitches are going to be good. If we can keep hitting those areas consistently, which I think we did with the new ball and the spinners as well, we’re going to be fine with that bowling attack.”



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Recent Match Report – Hampshire vs Somerset, Royal London One-Day Cup, Final

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Innings break Hampshire 243 for 8 (Northeast 56, Fuller 55*, J Overton 3-48) v Somerset

Royal London Cup holders Hampshire face a task on their hands with the ball if they are to retain the trophy after scrapping their way to 243 for 8. Shorn of three of the mainstays of their campaign by World Cup call-ups, a pair of half-centuries from Sam Northeast and James Fuller was as good as it got after Hampshire had chosen to bat, as Jamie Overton, Josh Davey and Somerset captain Tom Abell shared seven wickets between them.

Hampshire’s batsmen struggled to impose themselves from the outset – perhaps unsurprising when two players of the calibre of James Vince and Aiden Markram, now with England and South Africa respectively, had been removed from the top three – and but for Fuller’s late salvo during a 64-run stand with No. 10 Mason Crane, they might have left Somerset a target below 200.

At around the time Hampshire lost their fourth wicket, Liam Dawson was coming on for his first bowl in England’s World Cup warm-up match at the Ageas Bowl. How Hampshire fans would have preferred to see him walking out to the middle at Lord’s, following a Royal London campaign in which he claimed 18 wickets and averaged 45 with the bat. Instead it was Gareth Berg, with a List A highest score of 75, who came out at No. 6 to join Northeast.

Boundaries were at a premium as Somerset’s bowlers bustled about their business – given the scoring rate, this could almost have been a final from 2001, when Somerset last won a 50-over trophy at Lord’s. Jamie Overton broke a 49-run stand when Berg picked out deep backward square and Hampshire’s hopes of an imposing target seemingly departed with Northeast as he hacked across line, patience exhausted, to be bowled by Abell for 56.

Abell had only delivered one over in the format previously but also hit Kyle Abbott’s stumps in a tidy spell, while Chris Wood fell tamely to Jamie Overton, before Fuller and Crane begged and stole what they could during the last ten overs. A pair of clean-struck blows beyond the ropes from Fuller in the final over – the only sixes of the innings – suggested the pitch had runs left in it at halfway.

Perhaps hoping to follow the template of their victory over Kent last year, Hampshire chose to bat beneath low-slung cloud on a humid morning at Lord’s. While not exactly a green nibbler in September, there was enough in the surface for Somerset’s battery of right-arm medium bowlers to take advantage of.

Anuerin Donald struck a couple of early boundaries before hitting Davey straight to cover and although Tom Alsop and Joe Weatherley resolved to play their way in, it was ultimately to no avail. Alsop was dropped by James Hildreth at slip on 16, but obligingly recreated the chance off Davey’s very next ball and this time the Somerset veteran clung on.

Lewis Gregory strove for similar virtues of line and length when replacing Craig Overton and he found enough movement back in to defeat a loose push and remove Weatherley’s off stump in his second over, with Hampshire an anaemic-looking 50 for 3.

There followed a volley of retaliatory boundaries as Rilee Rossouw – Man of the Match for his 125 here a year ago – and Northeast dashed off 46 in 6.3 overs. Rossouw introduced himself to Gregory with a brusque force through the covers and then a swat over mid-on for four more but, having barrelled to 28 off 17 balls, he fell to the extra pace of Jamie Overton, cramped into edging a back-foot drive on to his stumps.

The onus now rested heavily on Northeast, Hampshire’s stand-in captain, and he packed away the shots to reach an 85-ball half-century. However, Abell was to steal his Lord’s limelight and help leave his team well-placed in pursuit of a first limited-overs title since 2005.



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Mark Wood and Jofra Archer give England more injury scares during Australia warm-up | Cricket

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England’s World Cup hopes may have sustained a serious blow after injury scares to both of their fastest bowlers.

Mark Wood and Jofra Archer, the two men in the England squad who can regularly surpass 90 mph with the ball, were obliged to leave the pitch within minutes of one another in the opening hour of the warm-up match against Australia in Southampton.

First Wood, after one ball of his fourth over, stopped halfway through his run-up and left the pitch having indicated that he may have an issue with his calf. Just two balls later Archer, a surprising choice as substitute fielder for Wood, slid as he attempted to stop a ball on the midwicket boundary and appeared to sustain an injury. He left the pitch moments later.

It meant that Paul Collingwood, one of England’s assistant coaches, was briefly forced into service as a substitute fielder. Collingwood turns 43 tomorrow, and retired as a player at the end of the 2018 season. Joe Root, who was due to miss the game following the death of his grandfather on Thursday, was also pressed into service as a substitute fielder.

England are also without the injured pair of Eoin Morgan, who sustained a fractured finger in training on Friday, and Adil Rashid, who has a long-standing shoulder injury. They also confirmed that Chris Woakes, who is expected to open the bowling in the World Cup, was playing in this match as a specialist batsman and would not bowl as they seek to manage his even more long-standing knee problems.

The England camp are yet to advise on the seriousness of the injuries.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo


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