sport

Worcestershire take control

Tom Fell scored his maiden first-class century and Daryl Mitchell his fourth of the season as Worcestershire took a stranglehold on their LV= County Championship Division Two clash with Leicestershire at Grace Road.

Worcestershire declared on 444 for eight, setting bottom-of-the-table Leicestershire an unlikely victory target of 404. By the close they were 20 without loss after eight overs.

Mitchell made 120 and 20-year-old Fell 124 in only his 15th first-class innings as they shared a second-wicket stand of 178 to help Worcestershire towards a winning position.

There were also half-centuries from Alexei Kervezee and Tom Kohler-Cadmore while Leicestershire seamer Nathan Buck claimed five for 123.

At the start of play it had looked an even contest with Worcestershire on 76 for one, leading by just 35 runs. But on a pitch that had now flattened out, Mitchell and Fell took the game away from Leicestershire.

The tone was set very early on with Fell, on 29, dropped at first slip by Dan Redfern off the bowling of Richard Jones. It proved an expensive mistake.

From then on Worcestershire's second-wicket pair progressed serenely and Mitchell, having one of the best seasons of his career, reached his 50 off 93 balls while Fell was soon celebrating his first half-century of the summer as well.

There was little Leicestershire could do to break the partnership and a neat leg glance to the boundary by Mitchell off Charlie Shreck took the Worcestershire captain to his century. He had made 102 off 160 balls with 14 fours.

It summed up Leicestershire's struggles when Fell edged Ben Raine through the slips with Redfern and Greg Smith leaving the catch to each other.

But the stand, worth 178, was finally broken soon after lunch when Nathan Buck produced an absolute beauty that nipped back and uprooted Mitchell's leg stump. His 120 came off 202 balls and took his total runs for the season to 920.

Fell was joined by Kervezee in another century stand to pile on the agony for the home side. At one point Shreck pulled up as he was about to bowl and warned Fell for backing up too far - calling to mind Sri Lanka's 'Mankad' run-out of England's Jos Buttler at Edgbaston. He was then immediately hammered for three successive boundaries by Kervezee.

Fell reached his century with his 13th boundary clipped through mid-wicket. It came off 215 balls and earned him a great ovation from his colleagues on the dressing-room balcony.

But he edged Buck to wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien shortly after tea and there was then a rush of wickets as Worcestershire chased runs to set up the declaration that looks to have given them a good chance of victory on the final day.