Shropshire Star

Ton-up Ali cashes in on Bears again

Kashif Ali followed his impressive first innings maiden century with an even better knock as Worcestershire dominated the third day of their Vitality County Championship Division One derby with Warwickshire at Edgbaston.


Kashif’s 110 first time round was stylish work, but the South Asian Cricket Academy graduate surpassed it with a gorgeous 133 (128 balls) as Worcestershire amassed 237 for two to lead by 264 going into the final day.

The Pears are scenting their first championship win at Edgbaston since 1993 after outplaying the home side with bat and ball on day three.

Warwickshire lost their last five wickets for 27 to fold to 333 all out (Nathan Smith three for 49, Adam Finch three for 56). That gave the visitors a lead of 27 which they enhanced in highly entertaining fashion as Kashif struck 16 fours and five sixes, supported by Jake Libby (75 not out, 137 balls).

Kashif’s brilliance had set a platform for his side to press home their advantage in the evening session, but they were denied the opportunity by rain which closed in to lop off the last 28 overs.

With further rain around today, Brett D’Oliviera’s side may be denied time to push for victory, but they have returned to Division One in fine style.

Libby said: “It was another good day for us. We finished their innings off really well this morning.

“Nathan really showed his class and experience with the Kookaburra ball. To bowl at the economy rate he did and get the ball off straight, which had been a battle, showed his quality.

“Then Kashif batted brilliantly. There are only so many superlatives to describe his batting this weekend. I think he made batting on that pitch look a lot easier than it is.

“It was a joy to watch from the other end. He made my job easy – I just got singles and watched him destroy them. I don’t think Warwickshire knew what to do at times.

“It was a shame to lose the last session to rain. That has condensed the game so we’ll have a think tonight about how to try to put pressure on them.”

Warwickshire’s new era, under the captaincy of Alex Davies, meanwhile, has made a less than golden start.

Davies said: “It was a tough day. We had plans this morning about how we could get past their total and then go on and try to win the game but it was a disappointing session to lose those five wickets so quickly.

“Credit to Kashif. He has played two wonderful knocks in this match. He attacked us really well and times and then absorbed the pressure when we bowled our better spells at him.

“You can see from the scores around the country that there are a lot less wickets falling and, of course, the Kookaburra ball is a factor, but we have got to adapt and we haven’t quite nailed our skills with the new ball in this game.

“Kashif has shown that runs can be scored quickly on this pitch and we will fancy our chances of chasing any target. We’ll see how aggressive they are with their declaration.”