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Twin tons for Daryl Mitchell, Hamish Rutherford lead Worcestershire

Daryl Mitchell of Worcestershire batting Getty Images

Worcestershire 348 for 4 (Rutherford 116*, Mitchell 114) v Leicestershire

Centuries from Daryl Mitchell and Hamish Rutherford put Worcestershire in a dominant position after the visitors against Leicestershire on the opening day of their County Championship match at the Fischer County ground.

Leicestershire's decision to put Worcestershire in was based on the overhead conditions, rather than the pale, hard, re-laid pitch, and it quickly looked to have backfired on them as Mitchell and Tom Fell put together a stand of 59 for the first wicket.

The ball did swing, but the pitch played well, and it was something of a surprise when Will Davis beat Fell's defence with a delivery that came back to hit the top of middle stump.

Ben Mike then picked up the wicket of Brett D'Oliveira, Colin Ackermann taking a sharp low catch to his left after the batsman edged an out-swinger, and Leicestershire might have felt the balance of the morning's play had swung their way after they were convinced Rutherford, on 15, had edged a catch behind off Tom Taylor.

The appeal was turned down, however, and with the clouds having cleared, the New Zealand international, making his championship debut for Worcestershire, began to play with increasing assurance, reaching his half-century shortly before tea.

Mitchell too looked in prime form, taking full toll of some loose bowling from the change Leicestershire seamers. The experienced opener accelerated as he approached his century, which came off 169 balls and included 16 fours.

By tea his third-wicket partnership with Rutherford was worth 166, but that was the extent of it. On the third ball after tea, an off-spinner delivered around the wicket by Colin Ackermann found the edge of his bat before being caught by Paul Horton at first slip.

Rikki Wessels, like Rutherford making his first-class debut for Worcestershire, hit 43 before being given out leg before on the back foot to Chris Wright, but Rutherford continued calmly on his way, reaching his century off 182 balls. He enjoyed some good fortune against the second new ball, and especially the bowling of Taylor, who moved the ball away from the left-hander off the pitch, but he remained unbeaten at the close.

"That was a really good day for us," Rutherford said. "It could quite easily have gone the other way because the ball was moving around in the first hour especially, but the openers put in a really great shift.

"Then the partnership between myself and Daryl was pretty special, and has put us in a great position moving on. There's still a little bit there for the bowlers, so the first half hour or so tomorrow morning will be important - we'll look to re-establish ourselves and then really kick on."

Leics 3rd innings Partnerships

WktRunsPlayers
1st6PJ HortonA Javid
2nd25PJ HortonHasan Azad
3rd0MJ CosgroveHasan Azad
4th93Hasan AzadCN Ackermann
5th10CJC WrightCN Ackermann
6th1CN AckermannHE Dearden
7th0CN AckermannLJ Hill
8th59CN AckermannTAI Taylor
9th12TAI TaylorBWM Mike
10th27TAI TaylorWS Davis