Worcestershire v Derbyshire
Daryl Mitchell completed a century and Phil Jaques emerged from one of the worst spells of his career as Worcestershire's openers put them in control at New Road for the first time in this season's County Championship. After 71 wickets in barely four-and-a-half days' cricket in two Second Division fixtures on the ground, the batsmen cashed in today as Derbyshire conceded a first day total of 376 for 3.
Jaques, dismissed for a duck in five of his six previous Championship innings, re-discovered his form with 92 from 135 balls and Mitchell ploughed on to 148, his first hundred since making a career-best 298 against Somerset at Taunton last September.
Their partnership of 167 extended into the 10th over of the afternoon session before Jaques, having hit 15 fours, shaped to cut a ball from Tom Lungley but dragged it on to his stumps.
For Derbyshire, it was a welcome change of luck after a frustrating morning in which the Australian left-hander mixed a number of streaky shots with a fine array of strokes in front of the wicket.
It was Worcestershire's best start in the Championship since Jaques, in an earlier spell with the county, and Stephen Moore, now with Lancashire, put on 234 against Surrey at New Road in 2007. This was also the second three-figure partnership for Jaques and Mitchell this summer - they started with 105 against Middlesex - but in between the first wicket had failed to get into double figure seven times out of eight.
Badsey-born Mitchell, now in his sixth season with his native county, moved up the ranks this summer with his appointment as vice-captain. A natural accumulator, he served his side well in seeing off a strong opening spell by Steffan Jones and then milked the Derbyshire attack until reaching his sixth first-class century from the third ball after tea.
There were some blemishes along the way but he maintained his focus, even after the confusion that cost Vikram Solanki his wicket. Sent back by his partner, he was run out for 42 by Tim Groenewald.
In the next over from Robin Peterson, Alexei Kervezee survived a chance to Garry Park at silly point. It proved to be a costly mistake for Derbyshire during as the productive stand eventually yielded 114.
While Mitchell was bowled, attempting to cut Peterson, after picking up 17 fours from 260 balls, Kervezee stayed undefeated with 66, having followed his positive instinct to post a half century with an upper cut for six off Jones.