COMEBACK kid Alexei Kervezee blitzed Worcestershire to a commanding lead over Derbyshire going into the last day of the LV= County Championship Division Two clash at New Road.
The ex-Dutch international endured a wretched 2013, averaging a meagre 10.57, but his first four-day hundred in three years was the highlight as the County dominated their opponents to set up a victory push today.
The Namibia-born 24-year-old showed glimpses of a return to form with 54 against Kent in the last match, before showing his explosive best with the fifth of his first-class career and his third in successive matches against Derbyshire.
Kervezee reached three figures off 132 balls with nine fours and received a standing ovation from his team-mates on the dressing room balcony when a two through the covers off Wes Durston enabled him to complete his hundred.
Moeen Ali also showed his class in making 99 off 146 balls with three sixes and nine fours, while a late onslaught by Gareth Andrew ensured Worcestershire secured maximum batting points.
Moeen’s contribution was perfectly timed with the England squad for the limited-overs matches with Scotland and Sri Lanka due to be announced in the next few days.
The hosts resumed on 31-0 from 16 overs after dismissing Derbyshire for 219 on the opening day and claiming maximum bowling points.
Skipper Daryl Mitchell and fellow opener Matt Pardoe laid the foundations for the later onslaught with a patient stand of 72 in 37 overs on a slow wicket.
Mitchell (26) pushed well forward to David Wainwright and was caught behind by Dan Hodgson, while Pardoe reached 49 before he lofted the same bowler to Wayne Madsen at mid-wicket with 96 on the board.
Worcestershire resumed after lunch on 105-2 and Moeen was quickly into his stride with a stream of handsome boundaries.
Moeen dominated a third-wicket stand of 67 in 13 overs with Tom Kohler-Cadmore (11), who was adjudged lbw to Tony Palladino.
The County went into the lead in the 75th over, but Moeen was caught at point by Tim Groenwald off Durston to the final ball before tea.
After Ross Whiteley was lbw to Palladino for a duck, Kervezee and wicketkeeper Ben Cox ensured the scoring rate did not drop during a stand of 75 in only 13 overs.
The 300 came up in the 92nd over and Cox, who hit a career-best 89 against Kent, raced to 41 off 46 balls before he top-edged a sweep against Wainwright to Palladino at backward square leg.
Kervezee and Andrew added 68 in 11 overs and the latter called for his Mongoose bat mid-innings as his side chased maximum points.
There was a late flurry of wickets with Kervezee, Jack Shantry and Saeed Ajmal falling in the space of six balls to Mark Footitt.
But Andrew lashed Durston for six over mid-wicket to take the score past 400 and brought up his own 50 off 45 balls with two sixes and five fours. The all-rounder cut loose to extend Worcestershire’s lead past the 200 mark by the close.