County Championship: Worcestershire edge first day against Northamptonshire

Joe Leach
Joe Leach has taken 34 wickets in the County Championship so far this season
Specsavers County Championship Division Two, County Ground, Northampton, day one
Worcestershire 277: Cox 74, Whiteley 66; Azharullah 4-68, Sanderson 3-52
Northants 64-3: Rossington 30*; Leach 3-28
Northants 3 pts, Worcestershire 2 pts

Worcestershire recovered from a dismal start to leave Northants in some trouble after day one at Wantage Road.

Azharullah (4-68) used early swing under clouds to take four wickets and help reduce the visitors to 54-5.

Worcestershire rebuilt thanks to a 129-run stand between Ben Cox (74) and Ross Whiteley (66), and Joe Leach's unbeaten 51 helped them reach 277 all out.

All-rounder Leach (3-28) then sent back Rob Newton, Ben Duckett and Rob Keogh as Northants closed on 64-3.

Leach, who had earlier made his third half-century of the summer, used the new ball to give the Division Two promotion hopefuls a slight edge.

Their advantage had looked very unlikely when Azharullah took 4-20 in his first eight overs at the start of play.

Worcestershire then suffered another slump when four wickets went for 44 after Steven Crook bowled Whiteley to end his sixth-wicket partnership with Cox.

Worcestershire vice-captain Joe Leach told BBC Hereford & Worcester:

"We had a poor first hour but managed to fight back well and we can be pretty pleased how things ended up.

"Thankfully we wrestled back momentum with that partnership between Ben Cox and Ross Whiteley. It's a decent score and taking three cheap wickets has helped.

"Me and Matt Henry realised we needed to make sure that 10th-wicket stand counted. Hopefully that's a few vital runs we added."