ROSS Whiteley and Brett D’Oliveira came to Worcestershire’s rescue on the second day of the Specsavers County Championship Division Two match with Gloucestershire at Cheltenham.

Having bowled out the hosts for 354 in their first innings from an overnight 339-7, the visitors plummeted to 68-5, an all-too-familiar tale in recent games.

But D’Olivera was then dropped on three, a routine chance to Miles Hammond waist-high at second slip off Ryan Higgins with the total on 86, and it proved an expensive mistake.

The sixth-wicket pair shared a stand of 146 in 43 overs, Whiteley leading the way with a hugely responsible 88, while D’Oliveira grew in confidence to contribute an unbeaten 66 to a total of 232-6 at the close.

The day began with Gloucestershire adding only 15 to their overnight score as Joe Leach claimed their last three wickets for figures of 6-79.

The County skipper bowled David Payne (8) and when Ethan Bamber (3) fell to a fine diving catch by wicketkeeper Ben Cox it gave Leach his 300th first-class victim.

Tom Smith was last man out for 83 to a boundary catch which saw D’Olivera flip the ball up for Ed Barnard to pouch just before stepping on the rope.

The County's reply had reached 24 when Riki Wessells (12) edged Bamber to Benny Howell at first slip.

With only a run added Callum Ferguson was taken at second slip by Hammond off Payne.

The afternoon session began with Barnard (6) falling to a diving catch down the leg side by James Bracey off Higgins.

Higgins had Daryl Mitchell caught by Bracey, standing up to the stumps, for 18 to leave Worcestershire on 44-4.

A shortage of top-order runs has been a major reason for the County finding themselves at the wrong end of the table.

Soon Howell took another catch at first slip, this time off Payne, to send back Ben Cox for 13.

But after Hammond’s drop Whiteley and D’Oliveira set about turning the tide.

Whiteley reined himself in and took 43 balls to strike his first boundary.

But gradually his attacking instincts took over and he lofted sixes off Bamber and Matt Taylor on the way to a 103-ball half-century.

D’Oliveira began to find the boundary and there were seven fours in his 50 from 92 deliveries.

With the sun shining, the penetration went out of the previously tight attack and batting looked comfortable for the first time in the day.

From 135-5 at tea Whiteley and D’Oliveira played with increasing freedom until Taylor found the edge of the former’s bat.

Although Bracey spilled the chance the ball looped to Howell beside him who took his third catch.