Worcestershire 95 for 3 trail Kent 260 (Coles 47) by 165 runs Scorecard
Joe Leach's early spell set an impressive tone for Worcestershire © Getty Images
Worcestershire's bowlers bounced back in impressive style from their weekend semi-final mauling in dismissing Kent for 260 on day one of the Specsavers County Championship promotion battle at New Road.
But then Kent responded themselves with the ball despite a boundary-laced cameo from England all-rounder Moeen Ali as Worcestershire closed on 95 for 3.
The home side, who conceded 363 runs in the Royal London One-Day Cup clash with Surrey, may have feared the worse after Kent skipper Sam Northeast won the toss on a good batting wicket in the blazing heat.
Skipper Joe Leach and 19-year-old Josh Tongue in particular impressed with the ball and Kent, despite lower order resistance from Matt Coles and Adam Rouse, would have been disappointed to be bowled out in 73.1 overs.
All of their batsmen except openers Daniel Bell-Drummond and Sean Dickson got into double figures but no-one went past 50.
As well as Leach and Tongue bowled, some of the shot selection of the Kent batsmen was questionable and their score was below-par.
Leach bowled an inspired opening spell and sent back openers Bell-Drummond and Dickson during an initial burst of 7-3-7-2.
Bell-Drummond nicked through to Daryl Mitchell at first slip and then Dickson tried to work the ball on the leg side and the ball struck his pads and bounced onto the stumps.
Joe Denly drove Ed Barnard straight to Brett D'Oliveira at point and then Tongue bowled a fiery spell after lunch which accounted for Northeast and Will Gidman.
In between Joe Weatherley wafted at a wide Leach and was caught behind and then Darren Stevens flat batted John Hastings straight into the hands of deep extra cover.
Kent were then 139 for 7 but resistance came at last from Coles and Rouse who opted to counter-attack in adding 79 in 16 overs.
It needed the return of Tongue to break the stand shortly before tea as Rouse provided Mitchell with a third catch and then Coles played back to Moeen Ali and was lbw.
Leach finished with 3 for 42 to take his season's wicket tally to 36 and Tongue, in his first season of senior cricket, 3 for 56 to move onto 24 victims.
The wickets were soon tumbling when Worcestershire launched their reply and D'Oliveira failed to trouble the scorers before he was pouched at second slip off Stevens.
Moeen was ultra aggressive in his approach with nine fours in his 37 off just 16 balls, a mixture of glorious cover drives and edges which just eluded the slip cordon.
But then he fell for the three card trick and was caught at deep midwicket off Coles who then had opener Mitchell taken at third slip. The positive aspect for Worcestershire was Joe Clarke looking like he was returning to form during an unbeaten 34.
He received good support from George Rhodes, in his first senior appearance of the season during an unbroken stand of 47.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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