Joe Clarke and Brett D’Oliveira steadied promotion-chasing Worcestershire’s first innings with a half century stand on the opening day of the Specsavers County Championship clash with Durham at New Road.

Worcestershire elected to bat when play finally got underway at 2pm and they were given a searching examination by Chris Rushworth, Graham Onions and Mark Wood.

D’Oliveira had a let off before he had scored with Ryan Pringle at third slip spilling a low chance off Onions.

Daryl Mitchell went into the game as the second highest run-scorer in Division Two but after making five he edged Rushworth to Keaton Jennings at second slip.

Tom Fell (1) was bowled by an inswinging delivery from Onions to leave Worcestershire on 13-2 in the 10th over.

There was much playing and missing of the new ball and Clarke inside edged Rushworth for four.

But the England Lions batsman and D’Oliveira gradually started to flourish.

Clarke reeled off a series of impressive boundaries and the 50 stand with the battling D’Oliveira came up in 11 overs.

But after making 22, D’Oliveira pushed forward to Keaton Jennings and was caught by Paul Collingwood at second slip.

Clarke continued to play with freedom and collected three boundaries in an over from Durham’s debutant, 18-year-old left arm spinner Liam Trevaskis.

By tea he had moved onto 46 off 46 balls with eight fours out of 90-3 from 26 overs.

Onions is playing his final match for Durham after announcing he will be leaving at the end of the season after being unable to agree a new contract.