Cricket: Sutcliffe century provides a lift

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The Independent Online
IAIN SUTCLIFFE negotiated a variety of Worcestershire bowling changes to boost Leicestershire with a determined century on the opening day of the County Championship match at New Road yesterday.

The 24-year-old left-hander cracked 110 to help hoist his side to 286 for nine off 114 overs. His innings lasted just over six hours and contained 13 fours off 297 balls.

Sutcliffe, whose previous highest score this season had been 55, was called into action in the first over, when Darren Stevens fell fourth ball to former Leicestershire left-arm paceman Alamgir Sheriyar.

Worcestershire were held up by Sutcliffe and Darren Maddy as the pair put on 82 in 29 overs for the second wicket. Maddy finally fell for 38 and by lunch the defending champions were 90 for 3 with Ben Smith having fallen to Matthew Rawnsley. David Millns pushed Leicestershire past 200 in the 84th over then departed for 19 before Tim Mason (30 not out) accompanied Sutcliffe in a 52-run stand in 15 overs.

The acting captain, Justin Langer, guided Middlesex to a first-innings lead of 58 against Somerset at Taunton. The Australian Test batsman hit 96 and important contributions from Paul Weekes (65) and David Nash (46no) gave the visitors a handy advantage as they were bowled out for 355.

Somerset were left with eight overs to bat in their second innings and closed on 28 without loss.