Azhar Ali has hit 92, 88, 60 and 60 not out in his last four Championship inningsLV= County Championship Division Two, New Road (day one)Leicestershire 148: Barnard 3-45Worcestershire 159-2: Azhar 60*, Haynes 42* Worcestershire (3 pts) lead Leicestershire (0 pts) by 11 runs with eight wickets remainingMatch scorecard
Callum Parkinson experienced a testing first day as Leicestershire’s new red-ball captain after his decision to bat first backfired in the County Championship match with Worcestershire at New Road.
The visitors were dismissed for 148 in 52.2 overs, with Worcestershire’s loan signing Matthew Waite picking up two wickets.
They struggled to deal with a disciplined attack who had secured maximum bowling points by the 42nd over.
Jack Haynes and Azhar Ali, with his fourth successive half-century, pressed home Worcestershire’s advantage with an unbroken stand of 106 as the hosts reached 159 for two at the end of the first day of the Division Two fixture.
Parkinson, who has stepped up from vice-captain to lead the Championship side for the rest of the season, replaced Colin Ackermann who will remain as T20 skipper. Lewis Hill will continue to captain the club’s 50-over side.
Waite has joined Worcestershire on a short-term loan move from Yorkshire as a replacement for Joe Leach, who has a back injury.
Leicestershire would have been reasonably content to lose only one wicket in the first hour – Hassan Azad lbw to Dillon Pennington – on a slowish wicket with some up-and-down bounce.
But then Charlie Morris and Ed Barnard turned the game in Worcestershire’s favour with four wickets between them for just three runs in the space of 32 balls.
Rehan Ahmed became the 500th player to play first-class cricket for Leicestershire but it was not a day he will remember fondly.
He went to pull Pennington and top-edged to Ed Pollock at first slip without troubling the scorers.
Ben Mike and Harry Swindells decided attack was the best form of defence before Waite was rewarded with two wickets in two overs.
When Ed Barnes chopped on to Josh Baker, Leicestershire were still two runs shy of three figures but resistance came from the last wicket pair of Parkinson (22) and Chris Wright (27 not out) who added exactly 50.
Barnard claimed his third scalp when Parkinson presented Pollock with his third catch of the innings.
Pollock was in typically aggressive form with a series of boundaries when Worcestershire launched their reply.
Jake Libby, a century-maker against Derbyshire, also looked in good nick as the pair put on 48 in 9.3 overs.
Mulder checked their progress when trapping Libby lbw for 17 and he followed it up with the wicket of Pollock (32) who picked out Barnes at deep backward square leg.
But Azhar (60 not out) and Haynes (42no) featured in a century partnership for the third successive match – the duo had shared in stands of 195 versus Durham and 187 against Derbyshire.
Azhar produced some delightful drives and cut shots and brought up his half-century from 71 balls with six fours, while Haynes also continued the form which had produced centuries in the previous two games.
Report supplied by the ECB Reporters’ Network.