Michael Neser and Timm van der Gugten lead Glamorgan towards victory over Worcestershire
A well-made 86 from Michael Neser and four wickets from Timm van der Gugten put Glamorgan within touching distance of their first County Championship win of the season against Worcestershire in Cardiff.
With reports that Neser has been called up for the Ashes preparation squad it was a timely reminder of his all-round abilities as he marshalled the Glamorgan tail to a significant lead.
Van der Gugten, the leading wicket-taker in Division Two of the Championship, was a consistent threat as the Worcestershire top order struggled once again. Had it not been for a seventh-wicket stand between Gareth Roderick and Matthew Waite their side could have lost this game inside two days.
With Worcestershire ending the day on 195 for seven, 46 runs in front with just three wickets left, Glamorgan should wrap up victory tomorrow.
Having resumed on 177 for six, Glamorgan were in need of runs from their lower order if they were going to maintain the pressure on Worcestershire. When Billy Root was dismissed by Adam Finch with just four runs added to the overnight score there was a chance that the home team would throw away the opportunity to set up victory.
In the Worcestershire first innings it was Neser and Van der Gugten who led the charge with the ball. When it was Glamorgan’s turn to bat the pair also made a telling contribution. A 57-run stand took Glamorgan to a first batting point and the lead past 100 before Van der Gugten fell to the part-time spin of Brett D’Oliveira.
The Glamorgan total had reached 258 when Neser was the last man to fall, edging to Taylor Cornall in the slips off the bowling of Joe Leach for the only score over fifty in the match.
Finch claimed career-best figures of five for 74, his maiden five-wicket haul in first-class cricket, as Glamorgan finished with a lead of 149 on first innings.
In previous matches on this ground this season the pitch has got markedly flatter as the game progressed but that has not been the case here. While batting appeared a little easier than on day one it was still a challenge even for set batters.
Worcestershire’s top order struggled once again in the second innings, with Van der Gugten the destroyer-in-chief with four for 38. He dismissed both openers early on and when Jamie McIlroy removed Jack Haynes for 14 it left the visitors struggling at 48 for three.
A 50-run stand between Adam Hose and Azhar Ali steadied things for Worcestershire, but when Hose was dismissed edging the ball onto his stumps for the second time in the match it brought another cluster of wickets as Van der Gugten dismissed Azhar and D’Oliveira in the space of two overs to leave Worcestershire 112 for six.
In the Worcestershire first innings the biggest stand was between Roderick and Waite, and in their second innings the two again combined to prevent an innings defeat and ensure Glamorgan would have to bat again.
The two shared a stand of 72 before the off-spin of Labuschagne accounted for Roderick, who was bowled off an edge for 36. That left Worcestershire 184 for seven, just 35 runs in front of Glamorgan.
Waite reached the close on 45 not out, the highest score made by a Worcestershire player in this match.
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