Parkinson excels for battling County

Worcestershire versus Leicestershire, Specsavers County Championship, Day 2:

SCORECARD | Available through ESPN Cricinfo HERE

INTERVIEW | Callum Parkinson spoke to BBC Radio Leicester's Richard Rae at stumps, the interview is available HERE

HIGHLIGHTS | The highlights of the second day are available HERE

REPORT | Callum Parkinson made a useful contribution with both bat and ball as Leicestershire continued to put promotion-chasing Worcestershire under pressure at New Road.   

Neil Dexter top-scored with 114 and there were contributions and partnerships throughout as Leicestershire put a competitive first innings score of 404 on the board after being 25 for 3 at one stage.

Slow left armer Parkinson scored 22 not out and took 3 for 62 from 22 probing overs of bowling, including a wicket in his final over of the day.

Worcestershire opener Brett D’Oliveira made 121 not out as part of 100+ stands with Daryl Mitchell (58) and George Rhodes (47) as the hosts closed at 270 for 4, still trailing Leicestershire by 134 runs.

Leicestershire resumed at 325 for 7 with Dexter on 102 and Zak Chappell 32, and the duo extended their alliance to 69.

Chappell was immediately into his stride with a beautiful off-drive for four at the end of the first over of proceedings.

Further boundaries followed for the pair in the third man region and Chappell then tickled one away to record Leicestershire's fourth batting point in the 102nd over.

The eighth wicket fell in the 105th over as Ravichandran Ashwin struck for the first time in the innings by rapping Dexter on the pads.

Chappell then fended Pat Brown to Tom Fell at short-leg as Leicestershire lost a ninth wicket before Klein and Parkinson shared 44 in a vibrant last wicket partnership.

Klein (26) played a number of superb strokes off Ashwin, sweeping a four before producing two consecutive drives that went for six over mid-on and four through extra cover.

It was then Parkinson's turn to launch a couple of deliveries down the ground, off Ashwin and Brown respectively, before Klein cut away to take the score to 400.

Ashwin ended the innings by beating Klein's defensive stroke on the inside, leaving Parkinson on an unbeaten 22.

Worcestershire scored a single in the first over of the reply before the players left the field due to rain. That brought about an early lunch at New Road.

D'Oliveira was quick out of the blocks in the afternoon session, sending a number of drives racing through the off-side. Mitchell was keen to use the pace and guided boundaries to third man with regularity. He struck seven fours in the space of two overs to move past D’Oliveira, who scored 28 of the first 33 runs.

Cosgrove changed tack by utilising Parkinson and Dexter in tandem, and although the rate slowed for a start, Mitchell reached 50 by driving two fours through the covers in the 19th over. It came from 57 balls (9x4).

The duo asked plenty of questions, though, with Parkinson extracting spin and bounce from the New Road End. Parkinson enticed a couple of loose strokes and there was also a leg before appeal. Dexter then saw an edge drop just short of Michael Carberry at slip.

The opening stand reached 100 but pressure was building, and there was the sense that something might happen. Honours went to the batting side to begin with as D’Oliveira advanced to Parkinson and struck a six over mid-on before moving to a well-constructed 50 (69 balls, 7x4, 1x6).

But the slow left armer stuck to his guns and was rewarded with the wicket of Mitchell thanks to a superb piece of fielding from Klein. The leading scorer in Division Two lofted towards deep extra cover and the athletic Klein ran around from a conventional deep cover to take a full length diving catch.

That brought Fell to the crease but the players were soon leaving the field when another sharp downpour arrived. Tea was taken at that point with Worcestershire at 120 for 1 and it rained again just when the players were about to re-emerge.

Parkinson struck for a second time when the final session got underway, bowling Fell (0) with one that skidded on.

Raine, who beat the bat on numerous occasions during the day, then landed some deserved reward from the Diglis End as Clarke (28), who hit three fours through the off-side, nicked towards second slip. Ned Eckersley snapped up a sharp opportunity to his left to bank the first bowling bonus point.

Rhodes had a couple of moments of fortune early in his innings; the batsman would have been well short of his ground had Carberry’s shy from point hit the stumps before a Parkinson delivery came off the full face of the bat and hit Aadil Ali chest-high at short-leg.

But the number five also played some pleasant strokes, particularly through the covers, as a stand developed with D’Oliveira.

The opener moved to three figures for the third time in the competition in 2017 with a cover drive that found the fence. It was the 11th four of a 152-ball landmark that also included a maximum.

Parkinson had a short bowl from the Diglis End for the first time before reverting to the New Road End to pick up a third victim. Rhodes chipped a catch to Carberry at mid-wicket as the alliance ended at 109 shortly before stumps, meaning that Tongue (0*) came out to bat as nightwatchman.

Bowling figures for Leicestershire: Klein 7-2-34-0, Raine 17-4-50-1, Chappell 9-0-55-0, Parkinson 22-0-62-3, Dexter 11-2-40-0, Aadil 3-0-21-0.

* Thanks to John Mallett for the photo of Callum Parkinson bowling at New Road today.

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