Worcestershire suffered more weather frustration as rain and bad light limited play to 40 overs on day one of the Specsavers County Championship clash with leaders Essex at New Road.

The County were delighted to see play start on time after the wash-out of the opening home Championship fixture with Kent three weeks ago.

But rain started to fall at 12.30am with Essex 105-1 from 24.1 overs and the players did not return until 4.40.

Another 15.5 overs play was possible before umpires Neil Mallender and Michael Burns took the players off for bad light at 5.35.

England skipper Alastair Cook ended unbeaten on 53 and Tom Westley 70 out of 144-1 from 40 overs after adding an unbroken 128.

Matt Henry took the new ball and claimed an early success after Essex had won the toss and elected to bat.

The New Zealand paceman marked his home debut by having Nick Browne (15) caught behind by keeper Ben Cox with 16 on the board.

Henry's success followed on from the six wickets he had taken on his first appearance for the County in the draw clash with Gloucestershire at Bristol.

Worcestershire skipper Daryl Mitchell used five bowlers in an attempt to make further breakthroughs.

Cook had a slice of good fortunes when he edged Joe Leach for four to bring up the Essex half century in the 10th over.

But he produced a far more authorative stroke when lofting his England team-mate Moeen Ali over mid on for six.

Cook had another scare was on 33 when he went for a risky single off Jack Shantry to mid on and may have been struggling to make his ground had Henry's throw hit the stumps.

Westley inside edged Ed Barnard for four to reach his 50 before turning the former England Under-19 player over square leg for six.

Cook pulled Shantry for four to complete his fifty shortly before the players left the field for the final time.