Worcestershire make Compton wait
The main event at New Road was delayed for at least 24 hours as Daryl Mitchell and Phil Hughes held off Somerset with Worcestershire’s first century start for more than a year in LV= County Championship Division One.
By batting all day to score 270 for three, the home side frustrated Nick Compton and the Somerset fans who had travelled to see whether he can become the first batsman for 24 years to reach 1,000 first-class runs by the end of May.
Compton arrived in Worcester with a maximum of two days in which to take his place in the record books, yet the clock quickly began to run down as events went against him.
His first setback came when Somerset captain James Hildreth lost the toss and another cannot be discounted if Worcestershire seriously extend their first innings. With Vikram Solanki unbeaten on 82, they have the platform to bat for some time yet.
At best, Denis Compton’s grandson will have one crack at scoring the 59 he needs to achieve a feat that was last completed on the same ground by Graeme Hick, who hit a century against West Indies in 1988.
With a little more luck, Somerset’s seamers could have sped things up by blowing a hole in Worcestershire’s top order.
With the ball swinging on a sultry morning, Mitchell and Hughes had to work hard for survival; the latter’s first four came from the 48th ball he faced as the opening session yielded only 77 from 32 overs.
Their application paid off with Worcestershire’s first century opening stand since Mitchell and James Cameron put on 101 against Warwickshire in April last year.
Hughes has already made a favourable impression with his third English county. The Australian scored a Clydesdale Bank 40 century against Middlesex on Sunday and his first championship innings produced a valuable 53, with five fours from 111 balls.
Peter Trego, having bowled well in a new-ball spell of nine overs for 18 runs, finally broke the partnership when Hughes was caught behind attempting a back-foot forcing shot.
Given that Mitchell made a career-best 298 at Taunton in 2009, Somerset may not have been surprised to see him digging in for a long innings.
In a trademark performance, he batted for more than four hours, picking off 10 fours in making 80. A century seemed there for the taking until Arul Suppiah, with his third delivery, had the opener taken by wicketkeeper Craig Kieswetter.
Solanki had his moments of fortune – surviving chances in quick succession off George Dockrell and Trego – but also played some impressive shots.
Having put on 80 with Mitchell, he shared in another half-century stand with Moeen Ali, who was trapped in front by the persevering Trego.