Pears post 348 for four on day one
DAY 1 | Leicestershire CCC v Worcestershire CCC 348 for four
SCORECARD | Available from Cricinfo HERE
REACTION | Leicestershire CCC Head Bowling Coach Matt Mason spoke to BBC Radio Leicester's Richard Rae at stumps, His interview is available HERE
REPORT | Four Leicestershire CCC bowlers took a wicket apiece, but a third wicket stand worth 166 between centurions Daryl Mitchell and Hamish Rutherford ensured Worcestershire CCC ended the first day at 348 for four.
Colin Ackermann (16-3-48-1) built on his five-wicket haul in the excellent win at Hove by taking the key wicket of Mitchell (115) before New Zealand international Rutherford ended the day on 116 not out.
There was considerable cloud cover at the start of the opening day of the Specsavers County Championship game at the Fischer County Ground before the sun broke through during the early part of the afternoon.
Ben Mike came in for his first appearance of the season in place of Gavin Griffiths, and after Ben Cox opted for a coin toss, the Foxes were in the field after seeing it spin their way.
The Pears were opening their Championship campaign after their draw with Cambridge MCCU in the final pre-season fixture, and made a steady start.
After an hour and fifteen minutes of play, the Foxes were still working on taking their first wicket of the game as the bowling attack of Chris Wright and Tom Taylor looked to build on their fine individual performances against Sussex.
The wicket was hard and had plenty of bounce and carry, and the opening partnership of Mitchell and Tom Fell passed the 50 mark despite some good bowling from the new ball duo.
Will Davis got the first wicket of the match with the opening partnership at 59. He produced an excellent delivery to bowl Fell for 28, sending the stumps flying by striking the middle peg.
Mike soon got in on the action as Ackermann caught Brett D’Oliveira (0) at second slip as the batsman went after five minutes at the crease, and the visitors were now at 64 for two.
The Foxes thought that they had captured the big wicket of Rutherford, making his Worcestershire CCC County Championship debut, just prior to lunch. There was an appeal for caught behind as Taylor was looking for his 11th success of the season.
Worcestershire CCC went into the interval after a solid opening session, and built on their platform in the afternoon as the sun burst through.
Mitchell and Rutherford continued to play well on a terrific surface, with Mitchell scoring 50 from 100 balls (8x4) and going on to post his three figure score from 168 deliveries (16x4).
The opener played well, being watchful in the early exchanges against the new cherry. Mitchell guided the ball down to third man on several occasions, and then produced several high-class drives as the innings wore on.
Rutherford, who looked particularly strong clipping through mid-wicket and driving through mid-off, recorded his maiden half-century for Worcestershire CCC from 80 balls (9x4).
The Foxes added some spin into their bowling attack in the shape of Ackermann, whose bowling was integral to the win on the south coast.
Ackermann’s introduction slowed the run rate down for the away side, but could still not find a third wicket. After a frustrating afternoon session, the Foxes came back out strongly after tea and it took only three balls for the dismissal of Mitchell.
Operating around the wicket, Ackermann pushed a delivery across Mitchell and found the outside edge, with captain Paul Horton gleefully snapping up the low chance at first slip.
Riki Wessels, a fellow Pears debutant, made a lively 43 and was at the crease when Rutherford moved into three figures from 181 deliveries (17x4).
The former Nottinghamshire CCC batsman was then trapped lbw by Wright with the new ball, before Ross Whiteley (18*) saw the visitors to stumps alongside his fellow left-hander, who ended the day on his highest score in the Specsavers County Championship.
FIGURES (1st inns) | Wright 21-2-71-1, Taylor 24-4-74-0, Mike 16-2-77-1, Davis 18-5-60-1, Ackermann 16-3-48-1, Cosgrove 1-0-1-0.
TEAM | Horton (capt), Javid, Azad, Cosgrove, Ackermann, Dearden, Hill (wk), Taylor, Mike, Wright, Davis.
Worcs CCC | Mitchell, Fell, D’Oliveira, Rutherford, Wessels, Whiteley, Cox (capt & wk), Barnard, Parnell, Tongue, Morris.
IMAGES | Thanks to John Mallett of Outside Off for providing the images throughout the game.