Riki Wessels (left) reached 100 for the 23rd time in first-class cricket on the day when debutant Josh Dell notched his first half-century
Specsavers County Championship Division Two, Blackfinch New Road (day two)
Durham 273: Burnham 76, Bancroft 70; Morris 6-53, Leach 3-59
Worcestershire 321-6: Wessels 118, Whiteley 62*, Dell 61
Worcestershire (6 pts) lead Durham (5 pts) by 48 runs
Match scorecard

Riki Wessels made his second century in three games as Worcestershire build a first-innings lead against Durham on on his home County Championship debut.

Fresh from his One-Day Cup ton against Derbyshire, Wessels made a classy 118, sharing a 140-run fifth-wicket stand with 21-year-old debutant Josh Dell.

Dell made 61 from 174 balls, his maiden half-century, in Worcestershire’s total of 321-6, an advantage of 48 runs.

But the Pears were also boosted by an unbeaten 62 from in-form Ross Whiteley.

The big-hitting all-rounder blasted two sixes, to add to four earlier from Wessels, to help the hosts turn the tide in their first home Championship game of 2019.

Wessels had produced a typically aggressive display in his first ton at New Road since the 33-year-old’s winter move from Nottinghamshire on a three-year contract.

Durham, who lost their opening two fixtures, are without Mark Wood, who has headed off on England duty.

They do have Chris Rushworth back after missing their One-Day Cup campaign with a side strain, but he did not add to his dismissal of Daryl Mitchell the previous evening,

Worcestershire batsman Riki Wessels:

“It is nice to get my first Championship century for Worcestershire and get that one ticked off. To be fair, they bowled quite a nice line to me to start with.

“There wasn’t much to get away to try and get off the mark. But, after I got away, I just played my natural game and played a few shots and took the bowlers on and put them under pressure for a while.

“To get 50 in your first innings for the club is a tremendous effort from Josh Dell. Obviously, he and I go about things in different ways so it could have been quite frustrating for him at times to see me flay balls away. But he stuck to his plan and ground out a very well played fifty.”

Durham batsman Cameron Steel:

“We were very good for the first 40-45 overs, they were struggling to score at a good rate and we were taking some wickets. But Riki Wessels was unbelievable.

“We bowled him a few bad balls but when someone like that gets going, you usually can’t do much about it.

“It has been quite a tough pitch to score on and the odd ball has done a bit but the guys who have got in on it, Cameron Bancroft, Riki Wessels and Ross Whiteley have made it look a bit easier.”

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