An adventurous century by Alexei Kervezee and thrilling 99 by Moeen Ali set the tone for a strong day’s work for Worcestershire as they reached leaving Derbyshire an uphill task to save the match tomorrow at New Road.
Kervezee struck 110 off 137 which included 11 boundaries while Ali faced 146 balls and struck nine boundaries and three sixes. Gareth Andrew struck a blistering half century late in the day (71 off 53 balls) inclusive of 6 boundaries and five sixes to effectively render Derbyshire a back to the wall mission tomorrow.
Derbyshire’s bowlers were lacking in penetration after a morning session, where they got the lengths right. But since then, they were hit all around the park ruthlessly as runs began to haemorrhage. Only one to come away with some pride was Mark Footitt who returned impressive figures of 52-3.
It was all based on another solid and obdurate opening stand between Daryl Mitchell and Matthew Pardoe who took care of the early seam movement. 41 runs were added with lot of caution but 72 runs on the board, the first wicket fell as Mitchell was caught and bowled off David Wainwright for 26.
Moeen Ali had an assignment of his own in hand, with England selectors having a binocular placed on him and he curbed his attacking instincts in the early spells. Maybe he had going to lunch without damage at the back of his mind, whichever it was, he managed it with some anxious moments.
However, Pardoe couldn’t last until lunch as a contentious catch by Wayne Madsen at square leg meant he had to depart for 49. Umpires had to consult eachother before arriving at a decision and Pardoe seemed hardly impressed with the outcome.
Moeen broke his shackles after lunch, wielding his bat with effortless ease to reach a half-century only off 59 balls. His company proved to be valuable for Tom Kohler-Cadmore who hung around with hope that he could turn his poor form around. But Madsen turned to Tony Palladino since the spinners were leaking runs at will, and he immediately got the breakthrough removing Cadmore for 11. That was the call for fireworks as Kervezee and Ali began to swallow the lead of Derbyshire in double quick time.
They added 78 for the fourth wicket before Ali’s horror moment arrived on the stroke of tea. Needing a single to reach his 13th first class hundred, Ali spooked at a wide delivery by Wes Durston which spooned to Tim Groenewald at backward point.
After tea, Ross Whiteley did nothing to remind his former county of his presence as he was dismissed for a duck by Palladino. Ben Cox continued his fine form and added 75 runs off just 79 balls for the 6th wicket before departing for a well-made 41.
Then the stage was set for Andrew to instigate a savage assault. The ground wasn’t big enough for three of his sixes while another hit ‘Worcestershire County Club sign’ at the rooftop of the nearby hotel. Even the last man Charles Morris joined into heave a boundary towards square leg to multiply the misery for Derbyshire bowlers.
In the middle of the carnage, the message wasn’t lost. They had set themselves up for a real tilt at an outright victory tomorrow.