Lancashire fought back well with the ball after lunch during a fast and furious opening day against Worcestershire at New Road
But they could not prevent the hosts from taking the first day’s honours.
Kyle Hogg, batting at number ten, top-scored with 46 off 43 balls as the visitors were bowled out for just 161 after Glen Chapple had won the toss and elected to bat first.
The visitors struggled with the express pace of West Indian Kemar Roach, who took three wickets on a helpful pitch, and were bowled out inside 36 overs in the early stages of the afternoon session.
But the relegation-threatened Pears then stumbled as Tom Smith took three wickets before tea, leaving the score at 77-5. After Hogg, who struck twice with the ball too, had picked up his second, Worcester were right on the back foot at 119-6.
However, opener James Cameron and wicketkeeper Ben Scott (45) frustrated Lancashire with an unbroken partnership of 90 for the seventh wicket to help close the day on a healthy 209-6 from 58 overs.
Both men rode their luck – Cameron was dropped by Tom Smith and Scott by Paul Horton – but Cameron, in particular, deserved his fortune on the way to 87 not out.
Even though Worcester lead by 48, this contest is far from out of Lancashire’s reach. But Hogg had it spot on when he said: “We need to get those four wickets as quickly as possible.
“We’re disappointed overall. We’d have obviously liked more than 160. We bowled well, and we’d got ourselves into a good position. But they had a good partnership, which can happen.
“They played well with a bit of luck. We created chances, but we dropped a couple of catches, which no-one means to do. They also played and missed a lot.”
Earlier, Stephen Moore and Mark Chilton, returning to the side in place of Farveez Maharoof, had shared 41 for the third wicket to recover the score from 10-2 after Horton and Karl Brown were adjudged lbw off Alan Richardson and Roach.
But Moore’s departure, bowled by Richard Jones for 18, sparked a loss of five wickets for 16 runs.
Moore and Steven Croft (lbw) fell to successive balls from Jones and Chilton (lbw), Gareth Cross and Chapple all succumbed to Gareth Andrew in the 20th over. Cross was trapped lbw and Chapple was bowled.
Roach then got rid of Smith and Sajid Mahmood to leave the visitors at 113-9 before Hogg counter-attacked by smearing five fours and two sixes, sharing 48 with Gary Keedy for the last wicket. Keedy only scored two.
Hogg gave Lancashire some valuable momentum, which they took into their bowling effort.
“If you worry about things too much, you’ll get bowled out for less than 100,” commented Hogg. “So we just thought we’d try and play a few shots. With the small boundary to one side, you’ve got a chance of getting runs if you miss the in-field.”
The seamer grabbed the first wicket when he had home captain Daryl Mitchell caught at third slip by Moore. And, when Vikram Solanki guided Chapple to Chilton in the gully, Worcester were 14-2.
Smith then struck three times, getting Moeen Ali caught at first slip by Horton, bowling Alexei Kervezee and rapping Aneesh Kapil on the pads. Hogg also bowled Andrew to leave the score at 119-6 in the 38th, but Cameron and Scott batted through until close.
Lancashire’s day was summed up when Mahmood bowled a ball to Cameron which squirmed back off the batsman’s body onto the stumps without knocking the bails off.
Chapple, meanwhile, is expected to be fit to bowl tomorrow after leaving the field one ball into his 13th over with a left knee complaint. He returned later on to bowl another couple of overs.
Photo (c) Nigel French/EMPICS Sport
Article (c) Lancashire County Cricket Club