5:35pm Wednesday 16th April 2014
By Tom Guest
CLINICAL Worcestershire continued their impressive start to the LV= County Championship Division Two season by ruthlessly seeing off Kent at New Road.
Thanks to Ben Cox’s career-best 89 on day three, the County were able to set their visitors 266 for victory on a bowler-friendly pitch.
An on-song Worcestershire attack took just 29 overs to reduce Kent from their overnight 51-3 to 140 all out to claim a 20-point haul.
The victory briefly moved Steve Rhodes’ men to the top of the embryonic table before Hampshire leapfrogged them by wrapping up a maximum-point eight-wicket triumph over Gloucestershire at Bristol to lead the way by one point.
The success was built on a disciplined performance from the bowling unit, led by Gareth Andrew, who appears to have put two years of injury problems behind him, with eight wickets in the match.
All-rounder Andrew was handed the new ball responsibility with Chris Russell left out in favour of an extra spinner in Shaaiq Choudhry.
The pitch did not turn as much as expected but that did not worry the seam attack, who dominated Kent's batsmen from the off, taking 16 of the 20 wickets to fall.
On a slow, low pitch, the Worcestershire bowlers reaped rich rewards for adhering to a tight line and length, which saw 12 Kent batsmen adjudged lbw across the two innings.
The visitors added just six to their overnight total before Ben Harmison was lbw to Jack Shantry for 10.
Darren Stevens joined Brendan Nash and they attempted to steady the ship but could add just 27 runs as Shantry struck again.
Man-of-the-moment Cox, standing up to the left-armer, moved quickly to his left to take a sharp chance as former West Indies international Nash found himself stuck in the crease when attempting a cut shot.
The impressive work by the Worcestershire gloveman was bettered shortly after, though, as Choudhry dived to his right to take a superb one-handed chance at mid-wicket to account for Stevens off the bowling of Andrew.
Charlie Morris, who looks to be a real find for the County, then came to the party with three wickets in four overs.
On his home debut, he first nipped one back to bowl England spinner James Tredwell for one before pinning both Sam Billings (12) and Mitch Claydon (11) lbw on the crease.
One-time Worcestershire overseas player Doug Bollinger came out swinging but Andrew, who finished with a superb match analysis of 8-85, had the last laugh by bowling the Aussie international to wrap up a 125-run victory.
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