Kervezee puts Worcestershire in command
Worcestershire 308 and 277 for 9 v Leicestershire 181 v 107 for 1
Alexei Kervezee fell one short of a maiden first-class century but still helped put Worcestershire in a commanding position against Leicestershire on day three of the County Championship clash at Grace Road.
The 20-year-old Holland international hit a superb 99 off 127 balls as Worcestershire declared on 277 for 9 to set Leicestershire a victory target of 405.
By the close, Leicestershire had reached 107 for one with Will Jefferson still there on 60 to give the Foxes hope of achieving what would be a record-breaking run-chase for the club. But the day was illuminated by Kervezee's innings. It contained 13 sweetly-struck boundaries and showed why he is so highly regarded at New Road.
Having played for Holland as a teenager, Kervezee has a limited-overs century to his name when he scored an unbeaten 121 against Denmark in a World Cup qualifier in South Africa last year. But he has now twice heartbreakingly just missed out on his first first-class hundred, having made 98 for Holland against Canada three years ago.
He looked set to reach the landmark at Grace Road when he struck a magnificent cover drive to the boundary to move on to 99. But then, in the same over from Nathan Buck, Kervezee was trapped lbw as he tried to work the ball away on the leg side and pick up a single. He could not hide his disappointment as he walked back to the pavilion although, by then, he had done more than enough to put Worcestershire into a strong position.
The visitors did not have the best of starts to the day, with Daryl Mitchell lbw to Buck without addition to the overnight 62 for 2. But, after that, the first hour produced 62 runs helped by 11 boundaries - seven of them to Kervezee.
A lengthy stoppage for bad light and drizzle before lunch checked Worcestershire's momentum and then Leicestershire's overseas player, Australian Andrew McDonald, helped himself to his first five-wicket haul for the club.
The wickets came in two excellent spells during the afternoon. First, he trapped Moeen Ali lbw with a delivery that kept low, and he then claimed another four wickets in a four-over burst before the declaration arrived. Former Leicestershire batsman Ben Smith survived the McDonald onslaught, reaching a half-century off 100 balls including three fours, to finish with an unbeaten 51 out of his side's total. McDonald finished with figures of 5 for 40 and Buck claimed three for 72.
Leicestershire had 35 overs to negotiate before the close and made a solid start until Matthew Boyce fenced at a ball from Alan Richardson and was caught behind with the score at 23.
Jefferson, however, looked in good touch, reaching his fifty off 86 balls, with 44 of his runs in boundaries, and was given solid support by Paul Nixon, who ended the day on 36.