Worcestershire v Glamorgan: Moeen Ali helps to forge big lead
LV= County Championship Division Two, New Road
Close, day three: Worcestershire 352 & 299-7 dec, Glamorgan 297 & 0-0
Worcestershire 6pts, Glamorgan 4pts
England's Moeen Ali made good use of his return to county duty as he helped Worcestershire to build a potentially match-winning lead against Glamorgan.
Resuming on 222-6, Glamorgan lost three wickets for three runs in three overs before a 68-run last-wicket stand took them to 297, Saeed Ajmal taking 5-106.
Worcestershire on unbeaten run
- Worcestershire are currently unbeaten in their last 11 Championship matches, stretching back to last September.
- That is their their longest unbeaten run in the Championship since going 16 games without defeat in 2003.
Moeen then made 80 in a second-wicket stand of 123 with Richard Oliver (65).
Dean Cosker also took five wickets before Worcestershire declared on 299-7, Glamorgan closing on 0-0.
Andrew Salter, sent in to open as nightwatchman following his first-innings efforts in that last-wicket partnership with Michael Hogan, saw out the final over of the day from Charlie Morris.
And that leaves Glamorgan still needing 355 to win, or to bat all day to save the game, knowing that they have to face the country's leading wicket-taker Ajmal, whose three morning scalps earned him his sixth five-for in nine matches this season for Worcestershire, taking him to 49 for the season.
Oliver's happy first-class debut
- Richard Oliver's first-class debut came on the back of hitting 292 not out for Worcestershire's Second XI against Warwickshire at Barnt Green last week.
- The Minor Counties player, who was captain of Shropshire, got his chance at Worcester, being offered a year-and-a-half deal on the back of his successful trial in T20 cricket.
Moeen, freed by England to play in this game as a warm-up for the forthcoming five-match Test series against India, finished top scorer for Worcestershire, taking his run tally to 461 in six Championship matches.
But he received good support from Shropshire recruit Oliver, who cashed in on twice being dropped to hit a half-century on his first-class debut.
Tom Fell, fresh from back-to-back centuries, weighed in with 40. And wicketkeeper Ben Cox (40 not out) again made useful runs in a productive unbroken 49-run eighth-wicket partnership with Jack Shantry, who made a rapid 24, half of which came in successive balls when he blasted two sixes off Cosker into the Basil D'Oliveira Stand.
That matched the efforts of Australian paceman Hogan, who had also hit two sixes in his 36 off 48 balls in his stand with Salter (25 not out) before being bowled by Ajmal.
Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes:
"It's an excellent cricket wicket. You can certainly bat on it but there's a little bit of seam movement, a bit of swing and reverse swing, a little bit of turn as well, and it's tiny bit up and down as well.
"We've had a good day, scored almost 300 runs and got four wickets. That's a really good effort."
Glamorgan spin bowler Dean Cosker:
"I'm happy personally, but as a team it will be tough tomorrow to chase 350 against an international spinner like Saeed Ajmal.
"We could have had a trickier period this evening with 10 or 11 overs to bat, but we tried to squeeze it in the middle. Obviously the wicket of Moeen Ali was a big one in stopping the flow."
BBC Hereford & Worcester's Trevor Owens:
"Worcestershire are in a strong position heading into the final day, but Glamorgan's bowlers - especially Dean Cosker - did well to put the brakes on in the evening session.
"Moeen Ali and Richard Oliver had threatened to give Worcestershire a very good platform earlier in the day, while Tom Fell and Ben Cox also played a part in helping set Glamorgan 355 to win.
"Andrew Salter saw off an awkward over before the close and, on what is still a good batting track, Glamorgan will believe that if they can get established early on, then Worcestershire will have to work very hard if they are to secure victory in this one."