Michael Neser stakes Australia claim as Glamorgan lead Worcestershire
Michael Neser further stated his case for Australian selection this summer with a hugely impressive four-wicket haul for Glamorgan in their County Championship Division Two match against Worcestershire in Cardiff.
Neser, in partnership with Timm van der Gugten, ripped through the Worcestershire top order before James Harris claimed four wickets of his own as the visitors were bowled out for 109.
The Glamorgan top order also found batting challenging on a day where it swung and seamed throughout. They reached the close on 177 for six with runs from David Lloyd and Marnus Labuschagne the bright spot for the home side on a day when the bowlers were in charge.
Glamorgan are 68 runs in front on first innings with 16 wickets falling on day one. The lead is growing and unless this pitch flattens out as it has done in Cardiff this season in previous matches, it could well prove to be a match-winning one.
Van der Gugten and Neser were on song from the start of the Worcestershire innings with the pair causing chaos with the new ball to leave the visitors 25 for five. Taylor Cornall was the first to go when he was trapped lbw by Van der Gugten. Neser dismissed Ed Pollock and Jack Haynes in the space of three balls, both batters caught in the cordon.
The next man to go was Pakistan international Azhar Ali who was brilliantly caught by Labuschagne in the slips off Van der Gugten. The catch went fast and low and Labuschagne clung on one-handed. The fifth wicket to fall to the Glamorgan opening bowlers was Worcestershire captain, Brett D’Oliveira, who was trapped lbw by an in-swinging ball from Neser.
There would have been hope of some respite when Neser and Van der Gugten came out of the attack, but Adam Hose was dismissed for a 15-ball duck to the first delivery bowled by Harris. It was a wider ball and Hose had an attempt at smashing it through the covers but an inside edge took the ball onto his stumps to leave Worcestershire 34 for six.
The first meaningful partnership of the Worcestershire innings followed with Gareth Roderick and Matthew Waite taking their team to 66 for six at the lunch break. Neser returned after the interval to break the stand but Roderick and Joe Leach took the score past 100.
A three-wicket burst from Harris, with the last two falling from consecutive deliveries, finished things up with Worcestershire 109 all out. Harris will be on a hat-trick when he bowls in the second innings.
Leach claimed the early wicket of Eddie Byrom to give the visitors the perfect start but the Worcestershire fielding was sloppy in the opening overs. Haynes put down Lloyd and Labuschagne in the slip cordon. The two Glamorgan batters put on a stand worth 81 before Lloyd was bowled by Leach for 48, his highest score of the season.
It was after the tea interval that things clicked for Worcestershire. When Lloyd was dismissed, Glamorgan were 88 for two and looked to be cruising to a significant first-innings lead before a burst of four wickets for just 21 runs brought Worcestershire back into the game, with Adam Finch the pick of the bowlers with his figures of three for 39.
It was Waite who claimed the big prize of Labuschagne when he inside edged the ball onto his stumps 42.
Billy Root and Neser successfully saw out the day in an unbroken partnership worth 57.
Support our Nation today
For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.