Worcestershire assistant coach-bowling coach Matt Mason believes it is "honours even" after a wicket-laced opening day to the Specsavers County Championship clash with Northamptonshire at New Road.

The home side were bowled out for 188 with Moeen Ali top-scoring with 50 after the toss was uncontested.

But a four wicket burst from skipper Joe Leach helped Worcestershire to reduce Northants to 102-6 by the close despite an unbeaten 45 from Ben Duckett.

Mason said: "I was just asked the question who do I think shaded the day and I'm really not sure. It's honours even I think.

"I think we did well to get to 190 at one point because we were losing wickets left, right and centre for a while.

"We fought back really well with the ball but they've got away with a run rate we are not overly happy with so overall it is still pretty even.

"I think the two England players, Moeen Ali and Ben Duckett, both showed their qualities in being able to adapt especially as you don't get wickets like that in international cricket.

"But that comes from experience and their quality as well but it didn't look an easy day for batting at all.

"There is a lot of grass covering on the wicket and, with the overhead conditions, if you put the ball in the right area, it definitely did plenty and we saw a lot of plays and misses today.

"I think to get some sort of score was useful and to get those wickets we have keeps us in the game.

"We need early wickets in the morning. If we can have a 50 run lead on that pitch, it will be useful."

Northants new signing, paceman Andy Carter had been working on a building yesterday and picked up three wickets on his debut – including Moeen.

The former Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire player said: "I had a few phone calls from a few different people saying I had stopped playing too early so I thought I'd try and give it another shot.

"I played for the Seconds last week and took five wickets. They have got a few injuries this week so I'm having a game!

"I've been working for a good friend as a self employed tiler. That is what I've been doing since October.

"Yesterday I was on a building site until five o'clock and then drove down to Worcester at half past five this morning."