Worcestershire on top after day three


Gareth Roderick’s first century of the campaign handed Worcestershire the ascendancy after England spinner Shoaib Bashir took 2 wickets on day three of the Vitality County Championship match with Somerset at Kidderminster.

Roderick mixed determined defence with aggressive stroke-play in helping Worcestershire earn a first innings lead of 142 and his partnership of 194 with Jake Libby was the bedrock of Worcestershire securing four batting bonus points.

Bashir had enjoyed a quiet start to the season after his 17 wickets in his opening three Tests in India with two wickets in matches against Surrey at The Oval and Nottinghamshire at Taunton. However, he settled into a good rhythm on a wicket offering some turn and removed Libby and Kashif Ali in quick succession and asked questions of all the batters during a 28 over spell.

Somerset were left three overs batting and Jason Holder made an early breakthrough in dismissing Sean Dickson.

Libby was eventually dismissed three runs short of his second ton of the season and there were useful contributions down the order from Adam Hose, Brett D’Oliveira and Joe Leach.

Sterling work by the ground-staff meant play was able to get underway at 12.10pm after heavy overnight rain with only 10 of the possible 96 overs lost.

Worcestershire resumed on 107 for one with Libby and Roderick’s stand so far worth 84. The century stand was completed from 177 balls.

Roderick brought up his half century from 115 balls but was fortunate to inside edge Migael Pretorious for four during a probing spell.

Libby looked set to reach three figures but the introduction of spin in the form of Bashir led to his downfall. He went to drive a delivery which turned and came back in and was bowled. His 189 ball knock contained 16 boundaries.

Bashir struck again when Kashif Ali, who had struck him for six over long on, played back to another delivery which spun back in and was plumb lbw.

A third wicket in quick succession fell when Rob Jones was comprehensively bowled for a second ball duck to give Pretorious a deserved scalp.

Hose went on the offensive from the start of his innings and his first seven scoring shots were boundaries. He raced to 39 and accelerated Worcestershire towards three batting bonus points before he nicked Ball to wide first slip.

Roderick brought up his century in the final over before the second new ball was taken with a quick single to mid on off Bashir. He had time to strike Bashir for a straight six before on 122 attempting to hit Ball over the top and picking out Tom Banton at mid off.

Jason Holder (12) went lbw to Lewis Gregory and Matthew Waite (5) was bowled aiming a big hit off the same bowler.

However, D’Oliveira, completing his first half century of the summer, and Leach batted with purpose and intent to lift the total past 400 and the four points. Their stand was worth 84 in 16 overs when D’Oliveira was caught behind off Aldridge and declared.

There was still time for Holder to have Dickson caught behind by Roderick.

At the close of play, Shoaib Bashir said: “I wasn’t expecting to bowl so many overs today but I was quite surprised it started spinning when I came on. As the day progressed, the ball started to spin less and fair play to Libby and Roderick for the way they batted out there.

“I’ve worked on changes of pace. Out in India the pitches are slower so I knew I had to maybe bowl a bit quicker into the wicket. I feel I’ve got a bit more consistent with that.

“I’m enjoying being back playing for Somerset. I only joined last year and the boys are incredible and I love playing for them. They keep my feet on the ground. I’m quite a humble guy and I know what God has given me could easily be taken away from me.”