Worcestershire Director of Cricket Steve Rhodes was delighted with his side's first innings total of 323 after being put into bat by Durham on the opening day of the LV = County Championship clash at New Road.

Durham had the advantage of bowler friendly conditions after the early morning rain delayed the start for 45 minutes.

But Worcestershire were able to claim three batting points thanks chiefly to 78 from Tom Fell and another good knock of 67 from the in-form Ben Cox.

It was the fourth time that the county have topped 300 in the first innings of their five Championship matches to date – something they found more difficult to achieve when last in the top flight in 2012.

Rhodes said: “We desperately wanted to win the toss because the pitch had sweated up under the rain.

"We also thought it would swing and it did.

“Bowling conditions were very helpful and to get the total we have, we are delighted and I think Durham will be disappointed.

“The two young players (Fell and Cox) played very well. Tom Fell’s biggest asset is his composure. He is relaxed under pressure.

"Losing two wickets (Alexei Kervezee and Fell) in the space of two balls was a blow but Ben Cox did his job in seeing it through until he was last out.

"He has worked really hard in the nets."