Worcestershire fought back strongly with Club Captain Joe Leach, Brett D ‘Oliveira and Ed Barnard taking the bowling honours on day one of the LV=Insurance County Championship derby with Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
Leach, who returned to the side after being rested for the home match against Essex, bowled a series of testing spells and deserved a greater tangible reward.
D’Oliveira again showed what an integral part of the attack he has become as the leg spinner supporting the four seamers this summer.
He gave little away and also enjoyed a double breakthrough including Warwickshire century-maker Rob Yates.
Barnard’s ability to make an impact with either bat or ball again surfaced with two scalps in addition to a chance not accepted off his bowling.
Josh Tongue collected a late wicket on his first appearance of the campaign and, although the County attack did not at times completely fire on all cylinders, they kept battling away and collected a second bonus point as Warwickshire closed on 271-7 from 96 overs.
Leach finished with 2-51 from 19 overs, D’Oliveira 2-31 from 22 overs, Barnard 18-5-65-2 and Tongue 19-2-68-1.
It was another indication of Worcestershire’s new found ability in 2020 and 2021 to remain in contention in matches even if they have to experience sessions when not everything falls into place.
There were first appearances of the season at senior level for batsman Jack Haynes and paceman Tongue after impressing for the Seconds.
Leach won the toss and put the Bears into bat and he made the initial breakthrough with the new ball in the seventh over with 20 on the board.
Warwickshire captain Will Rhodes (10), a double century-maker in the meeting at New Road last summer, had to play at a ball which left him and he edged through to keeper Ben Cox.
Fellow opener Yates looked in good touch for the home side and collected a series of boundaries in the ‘V’ between mid-on and mid-off.
New batsman, Pieter Malan, had a let off on 10 when he survived a low chance to second slip off Ed Barnard.
Leach returned for another testing spell before lunch which Warwickshire reached on 95-1 from 29 overs.
Worcestershire asked more questions with the ball when play resumed and Barnard struck with the fifth ball of the session.
Malan (32) offered no stroke to a delivery which came back in and he was bowled to being an end to a partnership of 77 in 23 overs with Yates.
D’Oliveira, who made his first class debut in this fixture nine years ago, quickly settled into a good line and length and was rewarded when Sam Hain (8) attempted to sweep him and was bowled behind his legs at 133-3.
Leach continued to ask questions and picked up a deserved second wicket when Matt Lamb (11) was undone by delivery of slightly extra bounce and Cox held onto a smart chance away to his right.
Warwickshire went to tea at 198-4 from 64 overs and shortly afterwards Yates completed an excellent century – his second in three games – with a single off D’Oliveira.
But D’Oliveira persevered and Yates on 104 tried to run the ball down to third man and nicked through to Cox. He struck 14 fours in his 229 ball knock.
Worcestershire immediately claimed the second new ball at 227-5 after three balls of the 81st over with Alzarri Joseph and Leach sharing the attack.
Barnard enjoyed a late success with just over four overs remaining as Tim Bresnan (20) nibbled at a delivery and Cox did the rest with his fourth catch.
Tongue returned for a final burst and knocked out Olly Stone’s off stump after he failed to trouble the scorers.