Mitchell ton leads Worcs relegation fight
Worcestershire 295 for 8 (Mitchell 129*, Kervezee 55) v Middlesex
Daryl Mitchell hit a well earned century as bottom-of-the-table Worcestershire attempted to ease the threat of relegation on the first day of their Division One match against Middlesex at New Road. Worcestershire's captain made 129 not out to help lift his side to 295 for 8 at stumps.
It was Mitchell's second Championship century of the season and came off a stately 273 balls. He put on 114 in 38 overs for the fourth wicket with Alexei Kervezee, who made 55 on his return to first team action for Worcestershire - who dropped Surrey-bound Vikram Solanki and wicketkeeper Ben Scott for this contest.
After being put in, Mitchell's men made an aggressive start to their innings thanks mainly to Phil Hughes, who darted to 34, including six fours off 28 balls, before being comfortably caught at deep fine leg by Ravi Patel off Toby Roland-Jones.
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 wicket. Roland-Jones then accounted for Moeen Ali for a duck to finish his opening spell with impressive figures of 8-3-17-3.
Opener Mitchell and Alexei 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 3 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.
The 22-year-old completed his first 50 in first-team cricket this season 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.
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 Tim 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 but Mitchell ended the day unbeaten and with a further batting point just around the corner.