Kervezee shines in County's top-of-the-table clash with Hampshire

Malvern Gazette: Kervezee shines in County's top-of-the-table clash Kervezee shines in County's top-of-the-table clash

WORCESTERSHIRE batsman Alexei Kervezee registered his third 50 plus score in the LV= County Championship this season on a keenly fought opening day against fellow top two side Hampshire at New Road.

The Dutch international had previously hit 54 against Kent and 110 against Derbyshire - also both at the cunty's headquarters.

After a sequence of 10, 32, 25, 0 and six, Kervezee was back amongst the runs and finished unbeaten on 65 out of 175-4 on a truncated day.

It was a fighting effort by Worcestershire after a rare failure by skipper Daryl Mitchell in an outstanding season and the absence of Moeen Ali on England duty.

The county made one change from the side which drew at Surrey with spinner Shaaiq Choudhry, now recovered from a broken thumb, replacing Moeen.

Mitchell won the toss and elected to bat on a wicket which had been in operation for yesterday's NatWest T20 Blast victory over Durham.

Mitchell, who went into the game as the leading runscorer in the country on 762, picked up the first boundary of the morning when he turned James Tomlinson off his legs.

His opening partner Matt Pardoe got off the mark with a three steered down to third man off Matt Coles.

Mitchell again found the ropes with a clip off his legs off Tomlinson while Pardoe square drove Coles to the boundary.

Hampshire made a double bowling change with David Balcombe and Sean Eervine replacing Coles and Tomlinson.

Mitchell and Pardoe advanced the total to 35 in 16 overs before the former on 12 drove at Balcombe and was caught behind by Michael Bates.

Tom Fell came to the wicket and collected his first four off Balcombe through mid-wcket.

Spin was introduced for the first time at 47-1 off 20 overs in the form of Danny Briggs.

The 50 came up in the 22nd over when Fell flicked Balcombe through mid wicket for four.

Tomlinson returned to the attack and trapped Pardoe lbw for 21 with the total on 64 in the 26th over.

Worcestershire resumed after lunch on 85-2 from 34 overs and had added just nine runs in 5.2 overs before a heavy shower drove the players from the field.

Play resumed at 2.35 and Tom Fell (19) edged Balcombe to Hampshire skipper James Vince at second slip with the total on 99.

Ross Whiteley, one of the county's batting heroes against Durham in yesterday's NatWest T20 Blast victory, lashed spinner Danny Briggs for six over mid-wicket.

But after making 18 he was adjudged lbw to Coles to leave Worcestershire on 139-4 in the 52nd over.

Kervezee reached his 50 out of 149-4 with an on drive for four - his sixth - off Briggs and the 150 came up in the 58th over.

Ben Cox (13 not out) had helped Kervezee add 33 in 10 overs through to the delayed tea interval at 4pm.

But only one over was possible after tea before bad light and then rain halted proceedings for the day.

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