County Championship: Mitchell & Rutherford hit tons for Pears at Leicester
|Specsavers County Championship Division Two, Fischer County Ground (day one):|
|Worcestershire 348-4: Rutherford 116*, Mitchell 114, Wessels 43|
|Leicestershire: Yet to bat.|
|Worcestershire 3 pts, Leicestershire 1 pt|
Daryl Mitchell and Hamish Rutherford both made centuries as relegated Worcestershire made a happy return to County Championship Division Two against Leicestershire at Grace Road.
On the ground where he made his maiden half-century 14 years ago, Mitchell completed his 36th first-class ton.
Mitchell (114) shared a 166-run stand with New Zealand batsman Rutherford, who finished the day on 116 not out.
Fellow debutant Riki Wessels made 43 as the Pears closed on 348-4.
The Foxes' decision to put the visitors in was based on the overhead conditions, rather than the pale, hard, re-laid pitch, but it quickly backfired on them.
Mitchell put on 59 for the first wicket with Tom Fell (28), the first of only four to fall in the day.
The game is overseas player Rutherford's only scheduled Championship appearance, having also been booked for five One-Day Cup games, ahead of the arrival of Australia batsman Callum Ferguson.
Leicestershire (and former Worcestershire) bowling coach Matt Mason told BBC Radio Leicester:
"I have to hold my hands up, I influenced the decision to bowl first, I thought given the overhead conditions and the nature of the pitch it was the right thing to do.
"Unfortunately we didn't hit the right areas as consistently as we have done in the past. We didn't make the most of the new ball. And, of course they have two fantastic players at the top of the order, so it became a tough old day.
"Hats off to Hamish and Daryl. They cashed in and put their team on top. When you're playing against batsmen of their quality the margin for error is small, and we bowled 'four balls' too often."
Pears debutant batsman Hamish Rutherford told BBC Hereford & Worcester:
"That was a really good day for us. It could quite easily have gone the other way because the ball was moving around in the first hour especially.
"But the openers put in a really great shift. Then the partnership between myself and Daryl was pretty special, and has put us in a great position moving on.
"There's still a little bit there for the bowlers, so the first half hour or so in the morning will be important. We'll look to re-establish ourselves and then really kick on."