Worcestershire 96 for 2 (Pollock 41, Libby 19*, Potts 2-41) trail Durham 425 for 9 dec (Bedingham 118, Raine 71, Lees 70, Gibbon 4-92) by 329 runs
Two wickets from Matthew Potts allowed Durham to make inroads into the Worcestershire batting line-up before rain ended day two prematurely in their LV= Insurance County Championship Division Two clash at Seat Unique Riverside.The home side posted 425 for 9 declared in their first innings after Ben Raine scored an impressive 71 to build on David Bedingham’s century and Alex Lees’ knock of 70 from day one, securing four batting bonus points to the total.Ed Pollock got the Worcestershire reply off to a blistering start, scoring 41 from just 26 balls before he was bowled by Potts. The England seamer produced a timely peach to remove Azhar Ali just before the close, signalling that he is well prepared to fill the void of Chris Rushworth’s departure. The visitors will resume day three 329 runs behind with eight first-innings wickets in hand.
Resuming on 363 for 7, Durham were in need of further runs to shore up their exploits from day one. Raine continued his rich vein of form against Worcestershire following on from his century in the contest between the two sides at the Riverside last season. He sent a cut through backward point to the boundary to register his 14th fifty in first-class cricket.
Raine and Paul Coughlin tormented Worcestershire with a record-breaking stand of 213 last season, and proved to be a thorn in their side again by reaching their century stand, securing the fourth batting bonus point for Durham in the process. There was no repeat of their mammoth effort as Coughlin fell for 42 and Raine was caught on the fence before Scott Borthwick declared.
Pollock displayed no appetite to see out play until lunch as he unleashed an assault against the new ball. The left-hander bludgeoned nine boundaries to bring up the visitors’ fifty in the sixth over. The ferocity of Pollock’s innings fired up Potts and the England seamer took delight in dismantling his stumps for an entertaining 26-ball knock of 41.
Azhar and Jake Libby were more sedate in their approach as the sunshine was gradually replaced by cloud cover. The elements allowed Potts, Raine and Coughlin to control the run rate while beating the bat on several occasions. It appeared as though Durham’s search for a breakthrough would end in frustration as the rain closed in.
Azhar was put down by Ollie Robinson for 29 down the leg-side in a rare error from the gloveman. However, his reprieve lasted only two balls before Potts pinned the former Pakistan international lbw just before rain ended the day’s proceedings early.