LV= Insurance Championship – Gareth Roderick, Jake Libby hold up leaders Durham on shortened day

Worcestershire 104 for 1 (Roderick 52, Libby 46*) vs Durham

Jake Libby completed 1000 first-class runs for the second time in three seasons as Worcestershire made an encouraging start to their top-two LV=Insurance County Championship encounter with leaders Durham on a truncated day at New Road.

The opener brought up his personal milestone with a single off Durham’s new signing, Sri Lanka seamer Vishwa Fernando.

Libby and Gareth Roderick put on 97 when finally got underway at 3.45pm with a possible 36 overs remaining. Conditions had looked ideal for bowling after Durham captain Scott Borthwick won the toss. But his bowlers did not find the right length on a consistent basis and Roderick had time to complete a half-century before he was dismissed by Bas de Leede shortly before bad light halted play.

The morning excitement in the city revolved around the discovery of an unexploded wartime shell that closed part of the centre.

Durham had already assured themselves of promotion, after Leicestershire failed to collect any batting bonus points in last week’s defeat at Sussex, and required a maximum of five more points to clinch the Division Two title.

Nearest rivals Worcestershire began the game 21 points ahead of third-placed Leicestershire who had leapfrogged Sussex following the south-coast club’s points deduction.

The home side were unchanged but Durham handed a debut to Vishwa, with Brydon Carse and Matthew Potts on England duty.

Roderick and Libby adopted a positive approach against Ben Raine and Fernando. The first 10 overs yielded 41 runs via a mixture of boundaries and the occasional play and miss, particularly against 51-wicket Raine. But the new ball attack struggled to find a consistent line and length and Libby produced two of the shots of a truncated session with back-foot cover drives for four at the expense of Fernando and Paul Coughlin.

Libby had fortune on his side when on 43 as replays showed he was short of his ground from Paul Coughlin’s direct hit after turning de Leede to cover.

Roderick drove de Leede for his eighth boundary to complete a 73-ball half-century but he was comprehensively bowled by his next delivery after working to leg with 97 on the board. Libby just had time to complete his personal run milestone before the players were taken off.

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