|Specsavers County Championship Division Two, New Road (day three):|
|Worcestershire 363 & 295-8 dec: Mitchell 130, D’Oliveira 55; Norwell 3-73, Smith 3-73|
|Gloucestershire 258: Taylor 101* & 55-3: Ashwin 2-11|
|Gloucestershire trail Worcestershire by 345 runs with 7 wickets remaining|
|Worcestershire 7 pts, Gloucestershire 5 pts|
Worcestershire opening batsman Daryl Mitchell made his fifth County Championship century of the summer to help his side set up a final-day push for victory against Gloucestershire.
Having resumed on 10-0, the 33-year-old ex-captain ended a run of six successive low scores by reaching 130 as Worcestershire declared on 295-8.
Gloucestershire ended day three on 55-3, having being set 401 to win.
India Test spinner Ravichandran Ashwin took two of the wickets to fall.
Having taken 3-94 in the first innings on his Worcestershire debut, Ashwin will be expected to add to that haul on a final-day New Road pitch.
But, with Gareth Roderick there on 17, captain Phil Mustard and Jack Taylor, a specialist centurion against Worcestershire, still to come, Gloucestershire will believe they can add the 345 more runs needed to win.
Mitchell’s 29th first-class century came with excellent support in an opening stand of 76 with fellow opener Brett D’Oliveira (55 – his second half-century of the match), 114 for the fourth wicket with George Rhodes (45) and then a further 55 for the fifth wicket with Ashwin (28).
Worcestershire already have enough batting points to climb back ahead of Sussex, who beat Glamorgan at Colwyn Bay, into second place in the County Championship Division Two table.
If Steve Rhodes’ men win, they will go 19 points clear of Sussex.
Worcestershire opener Daryl Mitchell told BBC Hereford & Worcester:
“Dolly got us off to a flying start which meant I could just hang in there for a bit and after lunch it was quite nice to capitalise on some loose bowling.
“I was surprised they didn’t start with Tom Smith straight after lunch and we got a bit of a hurry-on for an hour or so, myself and George Rhodes.
“We got some momentum which allowed us to declare earlier, which was nice. George played a huge part in that.”
Gloucestershire skipper Phil Mustard told BBC Radio Gloucester:
“We got three early wickets and then Mitchell and Rhodes put together a decent partnership. We’ve got to take a leaf from their book and adapt our game to the wicket.
“If we bat all day, we might get close to the target. It is going to be difficult but it is an amazing challenge for the people coming in next to see what they are made of.
“But we’ve got a couple of challenges ahead of us. Ashwin is bowling with decent pace and decent control and you’ve got a few seamers from the top end.”