Skipper Joe Leach inspired a Worcestershire fightback as 16 tumbled on the opening day of the Specsavers County Championship match with in-form Northamptonshire at New Road.
New Northants signing, paceman Andy Carter had enjoyed a successful debut with a three wicket burst including Worcestershire top-scorer Moeen Ali (50) as the home side were bowled out for 188.
But Leach in his first home match at the helm produced a deadly new ball spell which yielded four wickets.
It was reminiscent of the form which brought him 65 Championship wickets last summer – the most by any bowler in Division Two.
He finally took himself out of the attack with figures of 4-34.
When bad light intervened with 25 overs remaining, Northants had been reduced to 102-6 with only Ben Duckett (45 not out) offering serious resistance.
Former Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire player Carter was signed up after injuries to pace duo Ben Sanderson and Rory Kleinveldt.
Moeen, playing his first Championship match for almost a year, and Daryl Mitchell dug in against the Northants seamers in adding 62 for the second wicket after the early departure of Brett D'Oliveira.
Steven Crook trapped Mitchell lbw for 30 and Tom Fell (5) departed in the same manner to Mohammad Azharullah.
Moeen had greeted Carter's introduction into the attack by planting his first delivery over mid wicket for six and the England all-rounder went to his half century off 87 balls.
But then Carter changed the complexion of the innings when he returned after lunch for his second spell.
Moeen (50) went for a drive and was bowled and four balls later Tom Kohler-Cadmore (0) shouldered arms and suffered the same fate.
It became three wickets in 11 balls for Carter as Ben Cox (4) nicked a ball of extra bounce through to keeper Adam Rossington.
Joe Clarke produced some flowing drives but Nathan Buck disposed of Ed Barnard (1), Leach (20) and Josh Tongue (4) in the space of five overs while Clarke's knock ended at 33 when he fell lbw to Crook.
The wickets continued to tumble when Northants launched their reply with Leach settling into a lengthy and effective opening spell.
Rob Newton (1) went lbw in Leach's first over before Duckett was aided by Max Holden (13) in a stand of 53.
But it was only a brief respite before the bowlers dominance returned.
Holden drove Barnard to point before Leach sparked a flurry of wickets.
Rob Keogh (1) edged to second slip and Rossington (0) slashed the next delivery to point.
Richard Levi survived the hat-trick ball and a spilled chance off Leach but it did not prove costly.
He went lbw for 24 in Leach's next over and his replacement Barnard disposed of Cobb (7) in the same manner.