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County Championship 2021 – Alex Lees resists with 99 as Josh Tongue five-for lays marker for Worcestershire | Cricket

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Alex Lees resisted with 99 as Josh Tongue starred for Worcestershire © Getty Images


Worcestershire 6 for 0 trail Durham 246 (Lees 99, Tongue 5-39) by 240 runs

Worcestershire’s Josh Tongue claimed a five-wicket haul to bowl Durham out for 246 on the opening day of their LV= Insurance County Championship clash at Emirates Riverside.

Tongue was on the mark for the visitors to tear through the Durham middle and lower order with figures of 5 for 39 in his second appearance of the campaign. Alex Lees continued his fine form for the hosts with the bat, falling just short of a deserved century with an innings of 99.

Through Lees’ exploits and an unbeaten 38 from Brydon Carse, the home side worked their way to a competitive total. The Worcestershire openers were faced with a tough three-over spell before bad light brought a premature end to the day with the visitors six without loss.

Worcestershire’s bowlers found their rhythm after inserting the home side. The Durham openers found life tricky against the new ball and Joe Leach, who was rewarded for a fine opening spell when he pinned Will Young lbw with an inswinger. Charlie Morris maintained the pressure for the visitors and removed Scott Borthwick, who edged to Tom Fell at third slip.

Lees and David Bedingham stemmed the tide and saw the home side through to the lunch interval without further damage at 80 for 2. The two players put on fifty for the third wicket, but a loose Bedingham drive allowed Morris to break the stand. Lees was the only batsman that seemed comfortable, and he manoeuvred his way to his third fifty of the season from 145 balls.

Tongue turned the day in favour of the visitors as he ended a promising partnership between Lees and Jack Burnham, removing the latter lbw for 23 before using a well-aimed bouncer to force Ned Eckersley to play on to his stumps.

Lees accelerated the rate of his innings amid the clatter of wickets at the opposite end. He surged his way into the nineties with a fine array of strokes, but was agonisingly caught behind from a wide ball from Leach on 99 on the stroke of tea.

Carse and Mark Wood added valuable runs for the ninth wicket to take Durham past the 200-run mark and their first batting point. However, Tongue wrapped up the innings with two excellent deliveries to skittle Wood and Chris Rushworth to claim his first five-wicket haul of the term.

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