Pinner and Leach prop up Worcs
Worcestershire 219 for 6 (Pinner 79*) v Lancashire
Worcestershire's inexperienced pair Neil Pinner and Joe Leach defied relegation rivals Lancashire in their crucial County Championship clash at New Road. The two 21-year-olds, making only their second appearances in the competition, earned their bottom-the-table side a bonus point which seemed unlikely from 108 for 5.
No. 6 Pinner had spent nearly 15 months waiting for another opportunity after being dismissed for a duck in his only previous championship innings. This time he seized the moment with a confident and mature performance for an unbeaten 79 from 164 balls as Worcestershire closed 219 for 6.
Reaching 50 with successive fours, he took the lead in a partnership 111 with Leach, who was bowled by Ajmal Shahzad for 46 only two balls before the umpires took the players off for bad light.
When the game got underway after a first-day wash-out, Glen Chapple and Kyle Hogg led the fight to keep Lancashire in Division One. Chapple, perhaps mindful of his team's shock two-day defeat on this ground 12 months ago, won the toss and chose to try and heap pressure on a Worcestershire team with only one first innings total above 300 this summer.
With Phil Hughes called up to play for Australia A against England Lions, the troubled hosts were on the back foot in Chapple's second over when skipper Daryl Mitchell popped up a bat-pad catch to Simon Kerrigan. And when Hogg got one to swing into James Cameron's pads, a familiar story was in the making as Worcestershire lurched to 17 for 2 by the 12th over.
Reliability is not a word readily associated with the Pears' batting but there was a welcome show of resilience as the two left handers, Matt Pardoe, who made 37, and Moeen Ali, 35, eked out a stand of 45 in 20 overs. Pardoe, who made 55 when Worcestershire won at Old Trafford last month, adapted to an opening role and Moeen curbed his stroke-playing instincts in taking 22 balls to get off the mark.
Batting was never easy but just as the third pair seemed to be gaining the upper hand, Chapple landed a double blow with the help of two catches by Gareth Cross in the space of eight balls. He leapt to his left to take a fast-moving chance from Pardoe, who had driven the previous ball for his sixth four, and in Chapple's next over Cross quickly adjusted his position to hold an inside edge from Vikram Solanki. Moeen carried on the struggle for 11 more overs until he drove across a leg-stump delivery from Hogg.