Mark Wood’s in the pink with confidence-booster despite Durham’s trouble in the rain

The rain brought an early end to proceedings at the Emirates Riverside yesterday. Picture by Tom Banks.
The rain brought an early end to proceedings at the Emirates Riverside yesterday. Picture by Tom Banks.

Durham paceman Mark Wood proved his fitness and secured a “big confidence boost” for England’s looming Test series against South Africa yesterday.

He bagged 5-54 before rain halted the second day’s play in the Specsavers County Championship Second Division match at the Emirates Riverside.

The Ashington star took visitors Worcestershire’s final two wickets with the new pink ball, but not before they had established a lead of 170.

Brett D’Oliveira completed his century and Moeen Ali made 58 in Worcestershire’s total of 367.

Prior to England one-day duty, Wood took 3-206 in two Durham matches at the start of the season as he felt his way back from ankle surgery.

Looking sharper now, he had already taken three of the wickets when Worcestershire resumed on 213-4 yesterday morning.

He completed his haul by knocking out Ed Barnard’s off stump with his seventh delivery with the new ball before forcing last man Josh Tongue to fend a catch to short leg.

Wood said: “Getting wickets is a big confidence boost for me. My rhythm wasn’t there in early season, but I’m fine now.

“Ben Stokes has been really unlucky over the last two days with a lot of runs going to third man.”

On the new pink ball for day-night games, he added: “The pink ball held together well but it seemed to go soft quickly, so I think the jury is still out.

“Moeen Ali said he struggled to time it because it wasn’t coming off the pitch.

There were four wickets for Sunderland-born off-spinner Ryan Pringle, who had been treated with the utmost respect by Glamorgan last week but found himself under attack this time, conceding 73 in 12 overs.

In gloomy conditions, with the floodlights again on from the 2pm start, runs came briskly as Moeen played in carefree style.

When Durham posted a short extra cover he chipped Chris Rushworth over the fielder, but was fortunate as two inside edges took him to 50 off 59 balls.

D’Oliveira, who resumed on 91, drove Rushworth for three through extra cover to complete his 159-ball century with 15 fours and a six then top-edged Stokes’ second ball of the day over the keeper for another boundary.

When Pringle was introduced, D’Oliveira hit him for four to mid-wicket then lifted a no-ball over long-on for six before whacking a full toss straight to cover to depart for 122.

Following the stand of 130, Moeen swiftly followed, missing a sweep in Pringle’s next over to fall lbw.

Three wickets had gone down for six runs when George Rhodes sat back to cut and edged to wicketkeeper Stuart Poynter.

Ross Whiteley was on one when he drove Pringle for a straight six as he and Ben Cox stopped the rot with a stand of 73.

In Pringle’s final over before the new ball was due, Whiteley tried to heave him over mid-wicket and was bowled for 43. Wood did the rest, leaving Cox unbeaten on 32.

Worcestershire skipper Joe Leach said: “We had the perfect situation with a lead of 170 and a new pink ball to bowl with under the lights, so it’s a pity we didn’t get back out there.”