County Championship: Worcestershire beat Leicestershire by innings & 18 runs
|Specsavers County Championship Division Two, Fischer County Ground (day four):|
|Worcestershire 553-6 dec: Rutherford 123, Mitchell 114, Cox 100*|
|Leicestershire 302 & 233: Ackermann 69, Taylor 57, Azad 54; Morris 7-45|
|Worcestershire (24 pts) beat Leicestershire (4 pts) by an innings and 18 runs|
Worcestershire paceman Charlie Morris took 7-45 as the Pears opened their Division Two campaign with an innings victory over Leicestershire.
Resuming on 132-4, still 119 behind, the fourth day got off to the worst possible start for Leicestershire with the loss of three wickets for one run.
Colin Ackermann (66) and Tom Taylor (57) then frustrated the visitors, narrowing the deficit to just 18.
But Morris polished off the tail to dismiss the hosts for 233 before lunch.
The 26-year-old, who had only twice previously taken five-wicket hauls, recorded his best figures in first-class cricket with his remodelled action.
Daryl Mitchell, Hamish Rutherford and Ben Cox set the platform for Worcestershire's victory, all compiling centuries as they piled up 553-6 declared.
Leicestershire head coach Paul Nixon told BBC Radio Leicester:
"We didn't do our basics well enough, unfortunately, and Worcestershire played well. A couple of decisions didn't go our way, one big one with Hamish Rutherford when he was on 15 [when a strong appeal for caught behind was turned down].
"He went on to get a hundred, but they had three centurions and our top score was 69 - that was the most disappointing thing. As a collective, we didn't get it right.
"Ateeq Javid and Hassan Azad showed good technique and temperament and the younger players will learn from the way the likes of Rutherford, Mitchell and Ben Cox played.
"We put them in because this was their first game, we felt Worcestershire hadn't batted against a county side in their build-up, the overhead conditions favoured the bowlers and we thought the pitch might do more than it did. It did move, and there were plenty of plays and misses on that first morning, but the nicks didn't go to hand."
Worcestershire captain Ben Cox told BBC Hereford & Worcester:
"I'm really pleased with the lads. To come here in our first game and produce a team performance like that was exceptional, just a really really good team performance.
"The pitch was good throughout. That's why we had to enforce the follow-on. We needed as much time as possible. It was an outstanding cricket wicket, although 550 was probably too many.
"Charlie Morris has been our most consistent bowler pre-season, and thoroughly deserves those figures.
"It's the culmination of a huge amount of hard work on his part. Everybody contributed, but we're all really pleased for him."