COUNTY MAKE DOUBLE BREAKTHROUGH AFTER KERVEZEE HALF CENTURY BOOST
Worcestershire batsman Alexei Kervezee showed flashes of his undoubted potential with a fluent half century on the opening day of the LV County Championship match with Kent at New Road.
The Dutch international top-scored with 54 as Worcestershire totalled 224 all out in 76.3 overs with skipper Daryl Mitchell and Moeen Ali the other major contributors.
Then Worcestershire paceman Jack Shantry and spinner Shaaiq Choudhry struck two early blows in dismissing Kent skipper Robert Key and fellow opener Sam Northeast as the visitors reached 39-2 off 17 overs by the close.
Kervezee has stated his desire to repay the faith shown in him by the club's coaches and players last summer and immediately looked in good nick with a succession of boundaries.
His first championship 50 since September 2012 against Somerset came off 82 balls with his ninth boundary – a lofted on drive off spinner James Tredwell.
Kervezee's innings ended on 54 when he was at caught by Tredwell at short mid wicket off Joseph.
The sterling work of the New Road staff after the severe winter floods came to fruition as play got underway at the county's headquarters on schedule – only seven weeks after the ground had been under 10 feet of water.
Mitchell won the toss and elected to bat and the home side made one change from the line-up which drew against Hampshire with spinner Shaaiq Choudhry replacing paceman Chris Russell.
Opening batsman Matt Pardoe was trapped lbw for nought by Doug Bollinger, who spent the 2007 season at New Road, in the seventh over with 13 on the board.
Warm applause greeted the arrival at the wicket of Moeen Ali for his first home appearance since his winter of action with England in the West Indies and then the ICC World Twenty20.
Moeen collected four boundaries in quick succession off Bollinger and pulled England colleague James Tredwell for six over mid-wicket as the 50 came up in the 17th over.
He raced to 41 off 37 balls with eight fours and a six before he was bowled by Darren Stevens with the total on 59 with a delivery which came back sharply. Tom Kohler Cadmore (0) was then adjudged lbw two balls later in the same over after not offering a shot.
Kervezee and Mitchell then joined forces for the most productive partnership of the innings which was worth 92 in 30 overs and lifted Worcestershire to 151-4 in the 49th over.
Opener Mitchell took his aggregate to the season to 219 before he was dismissed for the first time in 2014 when caught behind by Sam Billings off Joseph on 47 made off 152 balls with five fours.
Wicket-keeper Ben Cox (0) was bowled by Joseph and Ross Whiteley showed positive intent in hoisting Tredwell for six over mid-wicket before being bowled by Doug Bollinger for 12.
Shaaiq Choudhry, making his first appearance of the season in place of Chris Russell, gloved Mitchell Claydon to wicket-keeper keeper Sam Billings after making 15.
Worcestershire secured their first bonus point in bringing up the 200 in the 70th over.
Gareth Andrew (14) and Charlie Morris (2) were also both caught behind off Claydon and Tredwell respectively to bring the innings to an end.
Kent began their reply with 17 overs remaining in the day and Shantry made an important breakthrough when Key was adjudged lbw for 11.
Mitchell brought Choudhry into the attack with four overs remaining and the move paid instant dividends as Northeast was also leg before for 18 from his second delivery.