County Championship round-up: Mitchell leads from front on fruitful day for Pears

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The Independent Online

Daryl Mitchell, the Worcestershire captain, carried his bat through a completed innings for the second time in his career as his side fought desperately for points in the only Championship cricket in the country yesterday.

The relegation-threatened Pears claimed a third batting point against Middlesex after a 4.30pm start at New Road, where Mitchell finished 133 not out after 28 runs were added to an overnight total of 295 for 8. Dawid Malan took a good catch above his head at first slip as Chris Russell became a fifth victim for seamer Toby Roland-Jones, before Alan Richardson was bowled by Tim Murtagh. Middlesex made 49 without loss from 13 overs in reply before more rain arrived.

The points help Worcestershire's slim hopes of avoiding relegation from the First Division by overhauling third-bottom Surrey over the final three matches of the season. The gap between them currently stands at 15 points.

Neither Surrey nor bottom-of-the-table Lancashire, who are two points worse off than Worcestershire, were able to make any progress yesterday with play washed out at Taunton and Liverpool, as well as at Edgbaston, where leaders Warwickshire are playing Nottinghamshire, who confirmed that seam bowler Andre Adams is unlikely to play again this season following the recurrence of a calf injury on the opening day.

Mitchell believes Worcestershire, who dodged relegation last season despite losing 11 of their 16 matches, need to win two of their last three this season to pull off another feat of escapology. They meet Warwickshire at New Road next week and finish the season against Somerset at Taunton.