Worcestershire returned to LV= County Championship Division 1 cricket with the visit of Somerset to New Road. Somerset came to New Road on the the back of a good last day victory against Durham with Worcestershire looking for the third home win of the season that would lift them out of the relegation places above Yorkshire.
After some good performances last season and this season in the 2nd team Jack Manuel was rewarded with his First Class debut, replacing James Cameron. Daryl Mitchell won the toss for the home side and elected to bat first.
Somerset claimed an early wicket when Matt Pardoe edged a catch off the bowling of Steve Kirby into the safe hands of Marcus Trescothick at 2nd slip for 9 in the 4th over. Skipper Mitchell and Vikram Solanki then put on 73 for the 2nd wicket before Mitchell edged a catch to James Hildreth at 1st slip off the bowling of Peter Trego for 45. By lunch Worcestershire had reached 98-2.
The afternoon session belonged to Worcestershire with Solanki and Moeen Ali at the wicket who batted for the whole session of 35 overs putting on 141 runs. Both players looked in fine touch in a well made partnership to the delight of the home crowd. Batting conditions were good but there still was the occasional ball keeping low on a pitch previously used for a one day match to keep the batsmen ever watchful. By the tea interval Worcestershire had reached 235-2, which Moeen signalled with a huge 6 into the crowd.
Solanki was dismissed in the 3rd over after the tea interval to an excellent over the shoulder catch in the deep by Hildreth for 90 off the bowling of Murali Kartik. The 3rd wicket partnership was worth 148 runs and set the innings up well for the home side. Solanki had a more restrained innings than Moeen Ali, lasting 178 balls containing 11 boundaries and provided the ideal platform for the home side to hopefully go on and make a big first innings score.
This brought Alexei Kervezee to the crease who soon got into his stride and was an ideal partner for the free flowing Moeen Ali. The new ball did little to stem the flow of runs as the Worcestershire pair tried to dominate the Somerset attack. Moeen Ali passed his well deserved century, his 6th of his career, off 151 balls with his 17th boundary of the innings, the ball just eluding the deep cover fielder and ending up in the pavilion crowd. Kervezee was in fine dominant form with some excellent cover drives and quickly reached his 50 in just 61 deliveries.
Moeen Ali finished on an unbeaten 134* with Kervezee on 68* as the pair stretched the unbroken 4th wicket stand to 128 as Worcestershire closed the day in a comfortable position on 367-3.
Close of Play Day 1: Worcestershire 367-3. (96 overs).