A successful fitness test for Moeen Ali and a century for Tom Fell in his first Division One appearance in the LV= County Championship guided promoted Worcestershire to 264-8 until bad light ended the opening day against champions Yorkshire at New Road.
An absorbing first day saw wickets for four of Yorkshire’s six seamers, a partnership of 118 between Moeen and Fell, and a score that could become workable for Worcestershire on a dry surface.
Worcestershire’s winter signing Alex Gidman was lbw to Tim Bresnan for seven, Sri Lanka spinner Sachithra Senanayake is keeping a place warm for the return of Saeed Ajmal and all-rounder Gareth Andrew showed his value with an unbeaten 42 after missing most of last season with a back injury. Yorkshire are without their captain Andrew Gale as he completes a suspension at a time when they have six players in the England squad.
Yet their core strength is mostly intact in the battery of seam bowlers, including 20-year-old Will Rhodes on his Championship debut.
Jack Brooks, last year’s leading wicket-taker, was quickly back in the old routine with a spell of 2-10. Richard Oliver was out third ball, giving the first of three catches to wicketkeeper Andrew Hodd, and Daryl Mitchell was well taken by Jack Leaning at third slip.
Moeen’s was a polished performance, more circumspect than eyecatching. But having hit 10 fours, an expansive drive off Bresnan led to another dismissal for Hodd.
Gidman and Tom Kohler-Cadmore fell in quick succession, and Ben Cox (10), was brilliantly caught by Bresnan at third slip.
Fell might have been caught by Hodd in the 60s but he had 99 at tea and completed his century in the first over after the break with four off his legs. He fell clipping a chance to Hodd’s left after making 114 in 234 minutes, including 16 boundaries from 196 balls. Jack Shantry was lbw to Steve Patterson for 15 shortly before bad light ended play.
LV= County Championship Division One, New Road (day one): Worcestershire 264-8: Fell 114, Ali 62, Brooks 3-38. Yorkshire: Yet to bat.