D'Oliveira 81 puts Pears in total control; CRICKET.
JOE Leach's third five-wicket haul of the season and 81 from Brett D'Oliveira put Worcestershire in complete control on the second day against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road.
The visitors, having taken a first-innings lead of 129, closed 181 for 4 in their secondinnings, a lead of 310. Leach added two more wickets to his three on the first evening to help bundle Northants out for just 148 - comfortably their lowest total at Wantage Road this season. D'Oliveira then led the visitors into a commanding lead with a fourth score over fifty in the Championship this season.
A century opening partnership with Daryl Mitchell saw Worcestershire seize the game. He and D'Oliveira survived the odd play-and-miss but it demoralised Northants who are staring at defeat with two days to go on a dry wicket starting to show signs of turn.
Worcestershire utilised sunnier afternoon weather to build their lead, first between D'Oliveira and Mitchell - who eventually fell lbw to Prasanna for 47 - and then for the second wicket with Tom Fell, who closed 36 not out.
D'Oliveira was composed and clever, scampered keenly between the wickets and reaching fifty in 92 balls. But when Rob Keogh fired a ball down the leg side, David Murphy completed a smart stumping with D'Oliveira 19 short of a third century of the year. Keogh struck again next ball to bowl Joe Clarke but Tom Kholer-Cadmore survived the hat-trick, only to be trapped by Prasanna for a 13-ball duck.
The day began very overcast with Northants 64 for 3 and the hosts' hopes of getting back into the game pinned on Richard Levi and Adam Rossington. But Matt Henry removed Levi, who never settled having resumed 11 not out and was caught for 27, and Rossington for a half century. Keeper Ben Cox took both catches before another Henry away-swinger saw Prasanna taken at slip just after lunch.
D'Oliveria helped clean up the tail with two wickets before Murphy was last man out - held at point to hand Leach, who earlier had Steven Crook caught at slip, 5 for 70 and 36 wickets in the Championship this season.