HAMPSHIRE’S stunning start to the LV County Championship season hit a minor bump in the road at New Road yesterday, when Worcestershire’s Ben Cox hit a maiden first-class hundred to put his side in charge of a weather-ravaged clash.
The 22-year-old chose the perfect time to move into three figures, helping his side put together a solid first-innings score of 402 for nine declared.
Support in chief came from Alexei Kervezee – although he added just 15 to his overnight 65 – and some heavy hitting in the lower order.
His efforts were all the more worth it when Hampshire were reduced to 10 for one by the close, with Michael Carberry going first ball at the end of a day again affected by the weather.
After play did get under way after lunch, Worcestershire added 24 runs before losing their fifth wicket when Kervezee went.
He was closing in on his highest first-class score of 92 at the time, but departed without making it, finding the hands of James Vince to become James Tomlinson's second victim.
That brought Joe Leach out to the middle and he and Cox combined to give the home innings a real backbone.
The pair put on 90 for the sixth wicket with Leach working hard for 32 of them before falling to Matt Coles.
Shaaiq Choudhry failed to keep Cox company for a long - hanging around for just five - but the keeper's concentration remained and when he pushed Tomlinson away for three he reached the milestone.
As is often the case, he went not long after raising his bat, becoming Australian Glenn Maxwell's first Championship victim. He walked off with 104 next to his name.
Part-time bowler Maxwell struck again not long after as Worcestershire went in search of quick runs, cleaning up Jack Shantry after a cheery 29.
Saeed Ajmal and Charles Morris then added 42 vital last-wicket runs to get the home side over 400 and, with 402 on the board, they were called in with a declaration.
Six overs were possible before the close and Carberry was not ready for the first ball of the innings that sent him packing.
The opener, axed by England last week, found the hands of Tom Fell off the bowling of Shantry to leave his side in trouble heading into day three.