South Africa’s only Test warm-up, and Liam Plunkett’s bid for an England recall, fell victim to the weather at New Road, with only 20 overs possible on day one.
This three-day tune-up against England Lions is all the Proteas have to prepare themselves for the Investec Series, which starts at Lord’s next Thursday, while Yorkshire’s Plunkett was hoping to take advantage of fitness concerns in the England attack in front of national selector James Whitaker.
Both parties left frustrated as bad light and persistent drizzle restricted the teams to spells of 14 and six overs before the close came.
South Africa posted 58-1, Dean Elgar nicking a beauty from Sussex’s raw but rapid prospect George Garton before Heino Kuhn (30no) and Hashim Amla (16no) came together.
Plunkett has not played Test cricket for three years and has largely been type-cast as a white-ball specialist by England in recent times, but has the stature to rival the likes of Toby Roland-Jones and Steven Finn in the forthcoming selection debate.
Chris Woakes and Jake Ball are both ruled out of the Lord’s opener, while Stuart Broad’s ongoing foot problem is being monitored by Nottinghamshire and England. If there is a chance for Plunkett to elbow his way back into contention, particularly given his limited opportunities at Yorkshire this season, an eye-catching showing in Worcester will be it.
Simon Harmer took 9-95 as Essex dramatically beat Middlesex by an innings and 34 runs to extend their lead at the top of Specsavers County Championship Division One to 29 points on the final day of the inaugural round of day-night fixtures.
Resuming 269 runs behind on 27-0, the visitors appeared to be comfortably batting out for a draw, with former England batsman Nick Compton hitting 120, sharing a 153-run stand with half-centurion Paul Stirling.
But South African spinner Harmer had other ideas, removing Stirling to trigger a collapse that saw Middlesex lose their last seven wickets for just 58 runs.
Somerset held on for a draw after losing early wickets in their pursuit of 161 to beat Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl.
Warwickshire’s game with Lancashire was washed out at Edgbaston.
Teenage spinner Hamidullah Qadri had a debut to remember as his second-innings five-wicket haul inspired Derbyshire to their first Championship victory for two years.
The 16-year-old, the youngest to feature for Derbyshire in the Championship, took 5-60 to skittle Glamorgan for 172 and secure a 39-run win in Cardiff.