Gareth Roderick’s century gives Worcestershire a chance to win

Gareth Roderick's century gives Worcestershire a chance to win

Somerset 309 during December 9 and 5 for 1 (Holder 1-1) follow Worcestershire 451 during December 9 (Roderick 122, Libby 97, Ball 3-72) follow by 137 runs

Gareth Roderick’s first century of the campaign earned Worcestershire promotion after England spinner Shoaib Bashir caused a mini collapse on the third day of Vitality’s County Championship match against Somerset at Kidderminster.

Roderick combined determined defense with aggressive stroke play to help Worcestershire take a first innings lead of 142. His 194 partnership with Jake Libby underpinned Worcestershire, securing four batting bonus points.

Bashir had enjoyed a quiet start to the season following his 17 wickets in his first three Tests in India with two wickets in matches against Surrey at The Oval and Nottinghamshire at Taunton. But he got into good rhythm on a wicket that offered some spin, removing Libby and Kashif Ali in quick succession and asking questions of all the batsmen over a period of 28 overs.

Somerset were left with three overs of batting and Jason Holder made a breakthrough by dismissing Sean Dickson.

The Libby-Roderick stand was another example of the excellent partnership they have forged since the latter was promoted to fly-half after five games last season. Libby again batted with great authority before being dismissed three runs short of her second ton of the season.

He is in excellent form and has amassed 349 runs so far this summer with an average of 69.80. Contributions from Adam Hose, club captain Brett D’Oliveira and Joe Leach ensured Worcestershire took their advantage.

The excellent work of the ground staff meant that the game could start at 12:10 pm after heavy overnight rain and only 10 of the possible 96 overs were lost. Worcestershire resumed at 107 for one and Libby and Roderick’s position so far is worth 84.

The century stand was completed in 177 balls and both batsmen looked relatively comfortable and scored freely. Roderick regained his 115-ball half-century with one of the morning’s shots, a back-foot square drive for his eighth four at the expense of Kasey Aldridge. Roderick was fortunate to beat Migael Pretorious by four during a trial period.

Libby looked set to reach three figures, but the introduction of the twist in the form of Bashir caused her downfall. She went to drive a delivery that spun and went back in and was knocked down. His 189-ball knock contained 16 boundaries.

Bashir struck again when the in-form Kashif Ali, who had long beaten him for six minutes, played another delivery that turned inside and was plumb. A third wicket fell in quick succession when Rob Jones played forward and was bowled comprehensively for a duck off the second ball, giving Pretorious a deserved scalp.

Adam Hose went on the offensive from the start of his innings and his first seven scoring throws were boundaries. He raced to 39 and paced Worcestershire to three batting bonus points before trapping Ball at first slip.

Roderick added to his century in the final over before the second new ball was taken with a quick single to middle off Bashir. He had time to hit Bashir for six in a row earlier, at 122, trying to hit Ball over the top and choosing the middle.

Jason Holder (12) was bowled lbw against Lewis Gregory playing and Matthew Waite (5) was bowled aiming a big hit at the same bowler. But D’Oliveira, completing his first half-century of the summer, and Leach batted with purpose and intent to raise the total beyond 400 and four points.

His stand was worth 84 in 16 overs when D’Oliveira was caught behind Aldridge and declared. But there was still time for Holder to let Dickson get caught by that man, Roderick.