Glamorgan 181/2 (Carlson 76*, Root 53*) trail by 274 runs vs Worcestershire 455/8 (Libby 184, D’Oliveira 174, Bernard 2/29)
Glamorgan’s Kiran Carlson and Billy Root scored unbeaten fifties to take their side to safer shores after Worcestershire made early inroads having made 455/8 in their first innings early on day two at the Blackfinch New Road.
Libby and D’Oliveira continued from where they had left to bring up their respective 150s and added a further 79 runs to the total overnight before Libby was stumped by Cooke off spinner Bull for a career-best 184. The wicket ended a 318-run stand - the highest for the fourth wicket by any county against Glamorgan.
Rikki Wessels (4) chipped a return catch to Wagg and ten balls later, D’Oliveira (174) edged a lifter through to Cooke off the left-arm seamer. Keeper Ben Cox (23*) and skipper Joe Leach (17) flayed the spinner Bull and Hemphrey in the closing overs of their innings but Leach fell to Bull looking for quick runs.
Having secured maximum batting points, Worcestershire ended at 455/8 at lunch with sides only allowed to bat a maximum of 120 overs.
Glamorgan openers Nick Selman and Charlie Hemphrey strode out to the middle with a mammoth total to pursue and started off positively with Selman drilling Leach through the covers before Hemphrey meted out similar treatment to Pennington.
However, with the score on 39, Selman (22) was the first to depart for Glamorgan in the 13th over edging a rising delivery from left-armer Ed Bernard through to the keeper Cox.
Dillon Pennington, the right-arm quick replacing Josh Tongue in the XI, extracted significant bounce and swing with his tall frame and relentlessly threatened the outside edge of Carlson in the corridor of uncertainty. However, a flick through square leg for a boundary helped Carlson get off the mark. Shortly in the next over, Bernard pinned Hemphrey LBW with a straighter one for 16 to leave Glamorgan in a precarious position at 44/2.
Glamorgan battle hard in pursuit of big total
As Billy Root, the only left-handed batsman in the match, joined forces with Carlson in the middle for Glamorgan, the onus was well and truly on them to decide the course of the innings.
Charlie Morris returned for his second spell from the Diglis End and Carlson wasted no time in guiding him through the gully followed by a drive through the cover point for a brace of boundaries to bring up Glamorgan’s fifty in the 20th over.
D’Oliveira, the centurion from earlier in the day, was introduced into the attack in the 24th over to bowl his leg-breaks and make an impact just before tea. The odd ball bounced and kept low but Root and Carlson saw him off to head into tea unscathed.
Resuming on 88/2, Root and Carlson were watchful in defence while also playing extravagant drives and flicks helped by a dry outfield which lent the batsmen full value for their shots. D’Oliveira continued from the Diglis End as Root set the tone, reverse-sweeping him for four before playing out Pennington’s short, probing spell from the New Road End.
Worcestershire skipper rotated his seamers for short spells on a sunny, warm New Road afternoon as Bernard and Morris were given another salvo. Carlson cover-drove Morris to complete a 95-ball half-century and also bring up the century stand.
With the sun beating down, there was plenty of banter on-air with David Bradley quipping how “the ice cream man would have made a fortune today” before inviting subdued remorse from his colleague Nick Webb given the absence of crowd.
Root continued to pile up the runs for Glamorgan against the seamers and a quick single off a D’Oliveira short ball tucked away into the leg side saw him bring up his patient half-century as the close of day beckoned with the partnership stretching to 137 runs.
Root had looked relatively sedate, solid in defence and elegant in timing the ball through the covers. However, with Glamorgan 274 runs adrift and 74 away from avoiding the follow-on, they would need him to convert it into a bigger knock with Carlson unbeaten on 76.
Glamorgan all-rounder Graham Wagg, who earlier picked three wickets, speaking to BBC Sports Wales, said, “Kiran and Billy played fantastic, pleased to get the feet up and watch the two guys bat. It is a really good wicket, Worcestershire bowled well with the new ball but then the wicket gets slow and hard to bowl on.
"The wicket's totally different from down in Somerset, but it's a big first hour in the morning and there's still a lot of work to be done. Earlier we hit our straps really well (bowling). It was a lot cooler than the first day and overcast, though Libby and D'Oliveira played really well on a good wicket.”
"I can see the reasons behind the 120 overs limit, trying to bring spin into the game, but I don't necessarily agree with it - though maybe I wouldn't have picked up the last couple of wickets if they hadn't been trying to clear the ropes,” he concluded.