Craig Miles marked his long-awaited first appearance of the season with four wickets as Worcestershire scored 299-7 on the opening day of the LV=County Championship game at Cheltenham.
The day after his 20th birthday Craig returned 4-53 from 17 overs, having finally recovered from the back problem that had dogged him all summer.
Tom Smith weighed in with 3-68 from a marathon stint of 31 overs, but an unbeaten hundred from Daryl Mitchell and half-centuries from Richard Oliver and Ben Cox ensured the day ended with honours even after Worcestershire had won the toss.
Nothing could detract from Craig’s delight and relief at such a successful return to first team action. At the close he told this website: “It’s great to be back with four wickets.
“It has been a frustrating time for me and I owe a lot to physiotherapist Steve Griffin for getting me back on the park.
“I was able to bowl in the nets before yesterday’s NatWest T20 Blast game with Essex and, although I didn’t play any part in that, it was great to celebrate my birthday with such a fantastic win by the team.
“It was nice to come on first change today and ease myself back in with a slightly older ball, although I did bowl with the second new ball when we took it.
“There was a bit more movement in the air than off the pitch and I just concentrated on getting as many deliveries as possible in the right area.
“Being out for so long has given me a chance to work on my bowling plans and today it was all about keeping to the right line and length, allowing things to happen from there.
“If we can take the last three Worcestershire wickets quickly tomorrow we will be right in the game and I could see a very good match developing.”
For full details of an absorbing day’s play click on Cricket and then Match Reports.