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Jon Culley at New Road
April 28, 2012
Nottinghamshire 243 (Hales 49) and 88 for 2 (Edwards 49*) lead Worcestershire 157 (Adams 5-62, Gurney 4-40) by 174 runs
If the Met Office is to be believed, spectators still determined to attend the final day at New Road should come equipped with sou'westers and wellingtons, and possibly even access to a boat, so all of what happened on day three may be academic after Worcestershire blocked off Nottinghamshire's attempt to secure what appeared to be the only realistic route to a positive outcome.
Having reduced Worcestershire to 66 for 6 on Friday evening, before poor light soon afterwards deprived them of the chance to make further inroads, Nottinghamshire needed to stop them reaching the 94 required to avoid the follow-on and then seek to bowl them out a second time.
Their plan was foiled, though, in no small part thanks to a young allrounder who is putting another feather in the cap of Worcestershire's academy director, Damian D'Oliveira.
Aneesh Kapil, an England U-19 from Wolverhampton, who joined fellow academy products Matt Pardoe, Jack Manuel and Neil Pinner in the senior squad last season, had already justified his selection by taking three wickets with his whippy fast-medium in Nottinghamshire's first innings.
Yet he is clearly capable of making his name in either discipline, as he demonstrated by making a composed and stylish 41 to help steer Worcestershire out of trouble and ensure, in all likelihood, that this match ends in a soggy draw.
Not 19 until August, Kapil returned to first-team action having been blooded with some promise last summer, when his highlights included figures of 3 for 9 from four overs against Northamptonshire in Twenty20 and a half-century on his first-class debut against Sussex at Hove.
He shared a partnership of 39 with James Cameron for the seventh wicket that enabled Worcestershire to steer a course into safe waters then helped Richard Jones add useful late-order runs, clipping Nottinghamshire's lead to 86.
It was a measured innings spanning two hours that included four boundaries, including one sumptuous off-drive off Harry Gurney. He succumbed finally to Andre Adams, consistently Nottinghamshire's most dangerous bowler, although not before smacking the New Zealander's opening delivery after lunch over extra cover for a one-bounce four.
Adams, who took five in an innings seven times last season, more than any bowler in Division One, gained revenge when the youngster was leg before two balls later, completing his first five-wicket haul of the season.
Harry Gurney also justified his selection by taking four wickets, the pick of them with a ball that drew Cameron into a push outside off stump that he edged to wicketkeeper Chris Read. Nottinghamshire will have Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann available to face Lancashire at Old Trafford next Wednesday but may find it difficult to leave out Gurney in favour of Luke Fletcher on this evidence.
With such poor weather in prospect, Nottinghamshire may not have a chance to set up a run chase, which would be their normal course of action after closing on 88 for 2, a lead of 174.
With Alan Richardson off the field nursing a minor side strain, Worcestershire gave Jones and David Lucas the new ball. Jones made an early breakthrough as Alex Hales clipped tamely to square leg, and Lucas appealed successfully for leg before against Michael Lumb, even though the ball looked a touch leg side.
Neil Edwards, who was dropped by Daryl Mitchell, the captain, at second slip off Lucas on nine, went on to pull Jones for six just before the last of several interruptions for bad light. He finished unbeaten on 49.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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