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County turn to Moeen and Thilan
6:13pm Thursday 12th September 2013 in Sport
WORCESTERSHIRE’S paper-thin bowling attack toiled to make inroads on day two of their LV= County Championship Division Two contest with Hampshire.
The visitors resumed on 197-3 after a rain-affected first day and soon recovered from the loss of two early wickets to make relatively untroubled progress against a limited home bowling unit and post a commanding 428 all out.
When Matt Pardoe and Daryl Mitchell departed in quick succession, there were fears Worcestershire’s fragile batting line-up might have been about to subside again.
However, the County’s two leading lights with the bat this term — Moeen Ali (28 not out) and Thilan Samaraweera (40no) — found some resolve to occupy the crease for 23 overs in a dogged partnership of 80 before bad light halted play with the hosts on 101-2.
Earlier in the day, opening bowlers Alan Richardson and Jack Shantry toiled manfully throughout the Hampshire innings, but they received little support with first-change bowler Graeme Cessford going for 139 from his 22 overs.
Richardson (4-69) took his season’s tally to 63 — just two short of having taken 250 in his four seasons with Worcestershire — but Hampshire’s batsmen were able to build on the early loss of overnight centurion James Vince.
The Hampshire batsman fell to the first ball he faced, chasing a wide one from Richardson and nicking to Mitchell at slip, who could only parry the ball, but Moeen was on hand to complete the catch.
Ross Whiteley completed his second run out of the innings shortly afterwards with a direct hit to account for Adam Wheater. But, as on the opening day, Hampshire were let off the hook after losing two early wickets as Michael Bates and Sean Terry combined to put on 77.
As usual, Mitchell had to turn to veteran seamer Richardson for the breakthrough and, soon after the new ball was taken, Bates was trapped lbw for 41.
Terry reached his maiden championship half-century and Chris Wood soon followed him past 50. As Hampshire looked to up their run-rate in pursuit of extra batting points before the 110-over cut-off point, Terry (58) perished as he clipped Whiteley straight to Moeen at short mid-wicket.
Moeen trapped Wood lbw, but a quickfire unbeaten 50 from Matt Coles, the on-loan Kent all-rounder, ensured Hampshire raced to an impressive total, leaving the home batsmen with it all to do tomorrow just to stay in the game.
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