Acting skipper Ben Cox became the third Worcestershire player to score a century in the first innings as his side amassed 553-6 declared on day two of the Specsavers County Championship encounter with Leicestershire at the Fischer County Ground.

Then the impressive Josh Tongue picked up two wickets as Worcestershire reduced Leicestershire to 180-4 from 51 overs by the close.

Cox, the County’s new red ball vice-captain, completed the fourth first class hundred of his career from 133 deliveries with one six and 13 fours and then declared one ball later mid-way through the afternoon session.

His fine innings followed on from the three figure scores by Daryl Mitchell and debutant Hamish Rutherford on the opening day.

It was the first time three Worcestershire players had scored centuries in the same innings since Vikram Solanki (232), Stephen Moore (143) and Phil Jaques (124) achieved the feat during a total of 701-6 declared versus Surrey in 2007 at Blackfinch New Road.

Cox’s ton was the fourth in first class cricket of his career with the others chalked up against Hampshire (2014), Somerset (2015) and Gloucestershire (2017).

But, in addition to the century-makers, there were important contributions all down the order with Ross Whiteley (49) and Ed Barnard (53 not out) playing their part today.

Cox said: “It was nice to spend time in the middle, I hadn’t got any runs in pre-season.

“We weren’t going to mess around on a pretty slow wicket. The message this morning was not to take too much time out of the game and make sure it was moving forward.

“That’s what we did. I wasn’t nervous in the 90s. I just didn’t want to force it, start playing across the line.

“The pitch was showing increasing signs of the ball going down even at the end of our innings.

“It’s one of those we’re going to have to work hard for our wickets, so if you’d said to me at tea we’d have four by the close, I’d have taken it.”

Worcestershire resumed on 348-4 from 96 overs with the first objective in their sights to claim maximum batting points.

Rutherford added only seven more runs to his impressive 116 not out overnight before he was caught behind off Tom Taylor.

But Whiteley and new batsman Cox ensured the 400 came up inside 110 overs and seal five batting points.

Whiteley reached the milestone in the grand manner with a six off Will Davis which went backward of square.

The left hander had moved onto 49 from 91 balls when he was lbw to Ben Mike’s full length delivery after adding 48 in 13 overs with Cox.

The wicket-keeper batsman produced a stream of impressive strokes in reaching his half century from 76 balls with seven boundaries.

By lunch Cox had moved with Barnard unbeaten on 22 out of a total of 470-6.

The morning session realised 122 runs from 29 overs and there was further acceleration when the players returned after the interval.

Both batsmen collected a six at Colin Ackermann’s expense and the 100 partnership came from 100 balls.

It was with one of Cox’s few false strokes that moved into three figures as he edged Mike to the third man boundary before the declaration.

The stand was worth an unbroken 145 in 26 overs with Barnard unbeaten on 53 from 65 balls with one six and five fours.

Tongue and Charlie Morris shared the new ball for Worcestershire and the former was soon celebrating as Leicestershire skipper Paul Horton (15) fell victim to an excellent low catch by Mitchell at second slip with 23 on the board.

Only a single had been added when Hasan Azad (1) was lbw to a ball of full length from Morris.

Mark Cosgrove opted for a counter-attacking policy for the home side and had moved onto an unbeaten 40 out of 76-2 by tea.

He dominated a stand of 111 with Ateeq Javid who was dropped twice by Tom Fell at third slip on 1 and 22 off Tongue and Barnard respectively.

But then Cosgrove (67) perished to a fine tumbling catch by Brett D’Oliveira at extra cover off Barnard.

Tongue returned and deservedly picked up a second scalp when bowling Ackermann (5) via an inside edge.

He ended with figures of 13-2-28-2 with Morris 12-4-34-1 and Barnard 12-3-22-1 the other wicket-takers.

Javid ended the day unbeaten on 55 with nightwatchman Chris Wright eight not out