Mohammad Yousuf century turns game for Warwickshire
Last updated on .From the section Cricket
|LV County Championship Division One, Edgbaston|
|Close, first day: Warwickshire 299-6 v Worcestershire|
|Warwickshire 2pts, Worcestershire 2pts|
Mohammad Yousuf made a superbly-crafted first century for Warwickshire to transform the first day against neighbours Worcestershire at Edgbaston.
Another troublesome pitch - the second in a week at Edgbaston - made batting difficult until the Pakistan Test batsman reached the crease.
Following on from 81 in last month's clash at New Road, he hit an unbeaten 108 as the Bears closed on 299-6.
After looking in bother on 99-5, Yousuf got support from Rikki Clarke (56).
Batting for 32 overs in a partnership of 108, they made it a day of contrasts for Worcestershire's acting captain Moeen Ali - back on the ground where he was first nurtured by the Bears as a youngster.
Deputising for Daryl Mitchell, Moeen was given a flying start by his new-ball pair, Damien Wright and Alan Richardson, but his options were reduced by the absence of another front-line seamer, Matt Mason.
The last match at Edgbaston ended with a Lancashire victory inside three days and, after a 50-minute delay because of rain, the latest strip was also to cause problems.
Varun Chopra was hit on the thumb by Wright's second ball and, in the Australian's second over, a wicked delivery took off from a length and cleared the wicketkeeper for four byes.
Chopra made 16 before pulling Wright to long leg and William Porterfield had reached 21 when he was lbw to an in-swinger from Richardson.
England's Jonathan Trott, still looking for a big innings on his return to county cricket following his busy winter, snicked a good-length ball from Richardson to Ben Scott, the Middlesex wicketkeeper beginning his latest loan spell with Worcestershire.
Trott's international team-mate Ian Bell managed to establish a foothold but, after playing well for his 34, he could do nothing about a grubber which earned Wright the clearest of lbw decisions.
Wright took his third wicket when Darren Maddy edged to second slip but Warwickshire bat a long way down and Yousuf was able to take control in the manner of a player with 24 centuries in 90 Tests.
Gareth Andrew eventually made a much-needed breakthrough for Worcestershire when a thin edge cost Clarke his wicket as Scott held a low chance.
But Yousuf, with his first ton for the Bears, in his seventh Championship innings, added six fours and a six in a second 50 in 39 balls and has so far put on 92 with Tim Ambrose (33no).
CLOSE OF PLAY SUMMARY
BBC Hereford & Worcester's Trevor Owens:
"Ultimately, this has to go down as Warwickshire's day as they did really well to battle back and the stand between Mohammad Yousuf and Ricky Clarke could yet prove the key.
"For Worcestershire, Damien Wright and Alan Richardson bowled well, while Gareth Andrew also deserved his wicket.
"But Worcestershire will need quick wickets on the second morning or there is a danger of this getting away from them, not least because Wright demonstrated late on day one there is still plenty of life in an unpredictable pitch."