Promotion-chasing Worcestershire needed just 14 overs to claim their first bowling point after bottom placed Leicestershire elected to bat in the Specsavers County Championship clash at New Road.

Josh Tongue, skipper Joe Leach and Ed Barnard all enjoyed an early success with the ball on a new pitch as Leicestershire were reduced to 25-3.

But then Leicestershire skipper Mark Cosgrove and unbeaten centurion Neil Dexter made sizeable contributions and shared in century stands with Aadil Ali and Lewis Hill respectively as Leicestershire closed on 325-7 from 93 overs.

Leach’s three victims took his season’s tally to 61 – four short of his best haul last summer – as the County picked up two bowling points.

Tongue, who took his wicket tally for the campaign to 43, said: “It was a tough day but Dexter batted really well and was really clinical in what he did.

“We didn’t bowl too badly but he batted nice and straight, looked in good touch and punished the bad ball when it came.

“We got off to a good start, myself and Leachy bowled well, the new ball was nipping around and there was a bit of swing as well.

“But when you get through the new ball, it is quite nice to bat on.

“We took our opportunities when they came and hopefully we can pick up the last three tomorrow morning, then get through the new ball and try and pile on the runs.”

Worcestershire began the match 36 points ahead of joint third placed sides Northamptonshire and Sussex who both have a game in hand.

Tongue made the first breakthrough as on loan Hampshire opener Michael Carberry (5) nicked through to keeper Ben Cox.

Ned Eckersley  (12), opening for the first time this season in Championship cricket in place of Harry Dearden, fell to Leach with Daryl Mitchell holding onto the chance at second slip.

Then Barnard enjoyed a success in his first over as Colin Ackerman (4) had his stumps flattened.

Leach bowled an impressive opening spell of 10-3-20-1 before being replaced by Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin.

But Cosgrove and Ali began to flourish and brought up the half century stand in 12 overs.

By lunch Cosgrove had moved onto 30 and Ali 27 out of 88-3 from 30 overs.

The fourth wicket pair advanced the score to 129 before Leach returned to the attack and trapped Ali lbw for 40 – his 60th Championship wicket of the campaign.

Cosgrove advanced his score to 74 and in the process emulated Daryl Mitchell and Paul Collingwood in reaching 1,000 Championship runs for the summer.

He faced 123 balls and hit eight fours before he skied Barnard into the hands of Joe Clarke at square leg.

Dexter went to a run a ball half century with nine fours and a six and received good support from Hill in a partnership of exactly 100 in 28 overs.

But the second new ball brought two quickfire breakthroughs.

Hill (33) was lbw to Tongue and Leach picked up his third wicket when bowling Ben Raine (3) at 285-7.

There was just time for Dexter to reach three figures off 120 balls with 18 fours and a six before the players left the field for bad light.