Kervezee ton rescues Worcestershire
Leicestershire 58 for 2 trail Worcestershire 237 (Kervezee 102, Shreck 3-65) by 179 runs
Alexei Kervezee staged a one-man rescue act with his second century of the season as top-of-the-table Worcestershire slumped to 237 all out against Leicestershire at Grace Road.
It might not have been the most elegant of knocks by Kervezee, the 24-year-old Dutchman, but it was certainly a gritty and vital one on a bowler-friendly day.
Only four other batsmen reached double figures, and the next highest scorer after Kervezee was 19-year-old Tom Kohler-Cadmore with 32 - his Championship best. The teenager shared a fourth-wicket stand of 77 in 23 overs with Kervezee, who was ninth out for 102 off 142 balls with 16 fours.
At one stage it looked as though Worcestershire would fail to pick up a batting point when they were 167 for 7. But the last three wickets put on 70 runs in 10 overs. Charlie Shreck finished with 3 for 65 and there were two wickets apiece for Nathan Buck, Richard Jones, who is on loan from Warwickshire, and Ben Raine.
But the Leicestershire batsmen also struggled in the conditions. Both Angus Robson and Ned Eckersley were caught in the slips fencing at balls outside the off stump and when bad light brought an early end to the day's play Leicestershire had reached 58 for 2.
On a green looking pitch under plenty of cloud cover, it was no surprise that Leicestershire decided to bowl after winning the toss. It was the right decision, and they would feel disappointed that they failed to dismiss Worcestershire for less than 200.
They had their chances. Worcestershire were 44 for 3 after 19 overs, and should have become 48 for 4 but Eckersley failed to hold a routine catch at first slip when Buck found the edge of Kohler-Cadmore's bat when he was on 4. The youngster cashed in, hitting six boundaries before being caught at gully driving at Shreck.
Leicestershire's battery of four seamers offered up a mixture of excellent deliveries with some loose ones, to the extent that Worcestershire's innings contained 34 fours. For fairness, many of them flew off the edge to the vacant third-man boundary.
Kervezee rode his luck at times with a few edged shots, but also produced some well-timed drives through the offside. But there was nothing edgy about the boundary that brought up his century - a deliberate uppercut over slips off Raine. He was finally out to a superb diving catch off his own bowling by Shreck.
Then Saeed Ajmal, fed a succession of bouncers, hammered 27 off 19 balls with five fours to provide a sting in the tail.
"It was a decent performance but it could have been better," Phil Whitticase, Leicestershire's director of cricket, admitted, "It would have been nice to have had them out for less than 200."
Worcestershire assistant coach Matt Mason had praise for Kervezee: "He has become far more mature in how he bats. He has been promising a lot for some time and it would be nice to see him have a big season."