Club Captain Joe Leach hit his second Specsavers County Championship half century of the season as the Worcestershire lower-order brought about a partial recovery on day one against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road.

Worcestershire reached 186 all out in 46.3 overs after being 58-7 at one stage after opting to bat on a used pitch thanks to the efforts of Ed Barnard, Wayne Parnell, Leach and Josh Tongue.

Leach, batting at number 10 in a reshaped batting order ended unbeaten on 53 from 39 balls with seven fours.

He ended one run short of his season’s best of 54 not out, also going in at number 10, against Sussex at Kidderminster.

The 28-year-old opted for an aggressive approach after coming to the wicket at 108-8 after Barnard (27) and Parnell (30) had added 50 for the eighth wicket.

Tongue proved a willing ally in adding 52 for the 10th wicket before he fell for 20 and the last three wickets added 128.

The County then picked up two early wickets in reply but a century partnership between Alex Wakely and Rob Keogh helped Northamptonshire to end the day on 140-3 – 46 runs in arrears and holding the advantage.

The runs picked up by the Worcestershire lower order were in contrast to the procession of wickets during the morning session in the face of some excellent bowling from Brett Hutton and Ben Sanderson.

The County made four changes from the side beaten by Gloucestershire at Cheltenham three weeks ago with Championship debutant Jack Haynes, Moeen Ali, Alex Milton and Josh Tongue drafted in.

Haynes went in first, Wessels reverted from the opening role to number six and Barnard switched from number four to number eight.

Haynes (0) was unfortunate to receive a superb first delivery from Hutton which pitched on middle and hit the top of off stump.

Mitchell (2) pushed forward to a probing delivery from Sanderson and nicked to Wakely at first slip and Callum Ferguson (1) took a step back and was lbw to Hutton.

Milton (0) departed to the next delivery which lifted and he edged to keeper Adam Rossington.

Riki Wessels (6) was working to leg when lbw to Hutton and the next ball saw keeper Ben Cox held low at third slip by Keogh.

Moeen made a quickfire 42 off 48 balls, playing two or three crashing drives but also edging several deliveries for four before he was caught at extra cover off Nathan Buck.

Barnard and Parnell joined forces and brought up a fifty partnership of 91 deliveries.

It was broken at 108-8 when Parnell went for a drive and edged to Keogh – again at third slip – to give Hutton his sixth wicket.

Dwaine Pretorious bowled Barnard via an inside edge before Leach and Tongue went on the offensive until the latter edged Buck and Wakely held onto the catch at first slip.

Worcestershire needed early wickets and Tongue obliged in bowling Rob Newton (2) via the inside edge while Ben Curran (10) was lbw to Parnell from a delivery slanting across the left hander.

Wakely and Keogh (53) added 102 before the latter looked to work Parnell to leg and caught the leading edge with Mitchell taking a sharp catch at second slip.

It followed a sustained period of pressure built by Moeen, bowling with more and more rhythm as the day developed, and Parnell who produced an excellent spell.

Wakeley ended on 63 not out as play for the day ended three deliveries early after night-watchman Buck ducked into a bouncer from Tongue.

Parnell ended with fine figures of 10-4-16-2, Tongue 8.3-0-27-1, Leach 9-1-24-0, Barnard 6-2-31-0 and Moeen 13-2-40-0.