Ed Barnard 89 helps put former club under the pump

Ed Barnard 89 helps put former club under the pump
Ed Barnard 89 helps put former club under the pump

Warwickshire 292 for 5 (Barnard 89, Rhodes 64, Mousley 56*) trail Worcestershire 360 by 68 runs

Ed Barnard shone against his former county as Warwickshire built a strong position in reply to Worcestershire on the second day of their Vitality County Championship tussle at Edgbaston.

Barnard struck a fluent 89 from 124 balls as Warwickshire responded to the visitors’ 360 all out by closing the second day on 292 for 5. In his first red-ball innings against the county from which he joined the Bears, the 28-year-old batted with patience and panache, hitting 11 fours and a six.

Supported by Will Rhodes (64 from 92 balls) and Dan Mousley (56 not out from 106), Barnard set down a platform from which Warwickshire will aim to put their local rivals under serious pressure in the second half of the game. Taking 20 wickets on a slow pitch that is good for batting will be a tough ask but the home side will be aiming to apply plenty of scoreboard pressure.

Worcestershire resumed on the second morning on 316 for 7 but their hopes of building an imposing total were scuppered by the excellent Chris Rushworth (3 for 97). The former Durham player dismissed Nathan Smith, caught at midwicket, and then unleashed a superb away-cutter which Joe Leach edged to Rob Yates at second slip.

Jason Holder offered some late-order impetus before skying Michael Booth to deep point where Danny Briggs judged a difficult catch superbly in the strong wind. From 235 for 2 on the first afternoon, Worcestershire would have hoped for more than 360 in good batting conditions.

Warwickshire’s reply was given a perky start by Yates before he inside-edged a drive at Leach on to his stumps. Alex Davies and Rhodes, present and former captains, then added 65 as the bowlers struggled for rhythm in the ferocious wind. Having set down roots in his first innings as captain, Davies was frustrated to perish for 36 when he mispulled a short ball from Adam Finch to midwicket. The next ball from Finch was identical but yielded a very different result as Barnard helped it sweetly over long leg to get off the mark with six first ball.

Rhodes, in his 100th first-class match, passed 50 for the 33rd time but, having left countless balls judiciously, tried to guide Smith over the cordon and found only the hands of Holder at slip. At 179 for 3, the game was finely-balanced and further quick wickets would have given Worcestershire the ascendancy, but Barnard and Mousley settled in to add 69 in 22 overs either side of tea.

Barnard was 11 runs from a century against his former team-mates when Finch won an lbw decision. The batter departed in disbelief at a decision which appeared to have scope for debate on grounds of both height and direction. He had, however, capably filled the No. 4 spot vacated by Sam Hain who is missing this match for personal reasons.

A late bonus wicket followed for Worcestershire when Jake Bethell dawdled on a second run and was beaten by Smith’s throw, but Mousley motored to a 95-ball half-century and will return with his sights set on a maiden first-class ton.

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