Mitchell ton boosts Worcestershire
Daryl Mitchell hit an impressive unbeaten century for Worcestershire in their LV= County Championship Division One match against Middlesex at New Road.
Skipper Mitchell made 129 not out to lift his relegation-threatened side to 295 for eight at stumps; it was his second championship century of the season and came off 273 balls, with nine fours.
He put on 114 in 38 overs with Alexei Kervezee, a half-centurion on his return to first-team action for Worcestershire, who dropped Surrey-bound Vikram Solanki and wicketkeeper Ben Scott.
Middlesex’s most productive bowler was paceman Toby Roland-Jones, who finished with 4-67.
After being put in, Mitchell’s men made an aggressive start thanks mainly to Phil Hughes; he cracked 34 - including six fours in 28 balls - before being caught at deep fine-leg by Ravi Patel off Roland-Jones.
Five runs earlier, the Australian, playing against his former club, had been put down at second slip by Sam Robson off Tim Murtagh.
Hughes’ departure signalled the start of a decline in Worcestershire’s run-rate; they reached 50 in the 14th over, which saw Roland-Jones strike again to trap Matt Pardoe leg before.
Roland-Jones then got rid of Moeen Ali for a duck to finish a brilliant opening spell of 8-3-17-3.
Mitchell and Kervezee, making his first championship appearance for four months following a loss of form and injury, then steadied the ship to take Worcestershire to 104 for three at lunch.
Mitchell continued to make healthy progress after the interval and completed his half-century with five fours off 128 balls.
Kervezee rode his luck on a couple of occasions before his well-crafted partnership with Mitchell topped the three-figure mark in 34 overs.
The 22-year-old completed his first fifty in first-team cricket this season with the aid of five fours before a loose uppish drive against Neil Dexter led to him being easily caught at mid-on by Roland-Jones.
Neil Pinner fell to spinner Patel before Mitchell went in at tea on 71 not out, with his side 186 for five off 64 overs.
Shortly after the break, the hosts picked up the first of two precious bonus points before Joe Leach was yorked by Steven Crook.
Young wicketkeeper Ben Cox, making his first championship appearance for Worcestershire for 16 months, was then removed by Murtagh before Mitchell completed the 12th first-class century of his career in nearly five and a half hours.
Roland-Jones took his wicket haul to four by ousting Gareth Andrew to leave Mitchell to end a fruitful day with 13 fours off 306 balls.