Mitchell falls short of century

Daryl Mitchell scored 97 as Worcestershire made 291 on the first day of the County Championship Division Two match against Essex.

Mitchell, who chose to bat after winning the toss, put on a fine opening stand with Matt Pardoe of 117 after the visitors were hit for 31 from the first five overs.

However, after reaching lunch at 132 for one from 32 overs, Worcestershire were pegged back by a good spell from Essex, who beat Middlesex Panthers in their NatWest T20 Blast clash on Saturday.

Mitchell was eventually out on 97, which included 17 boundaries, with the hosts at 156 for four.

However, only wicketkeeper Ben Cox subsequently offered some support with his 38 as Worcestershire lost their final four wickets for 29 runs.

On-loan Lancashire paceman Oliver Newby, Graham Napier, Monty Panesar and New Zealander Jesse Ryder, on his championship debut, all picked up two wickets for the visitors.

In reply, Essex had reached 52 for two at the close.

Pakistan bowler Saeed Ajmal trapped Tom Westley (24) leg before and then also did the same to nightwatchman Matt Salisbury, on his first-class debut, for one.

When stumps was called after Essex had got through the 21 overs of the evening session, Jaik Mickleburgh remained at the crease on 21, with Greg Smith on five.

Mitchell had earlier reached his half-century from 66 deliveries, including 10 boundaries, before the opening partnership was ended as Pardoe was trapped lbw by Smith.

Tom Kohler-Cadmore made just nine in less than half an hour at the crease when he was trapped lbw by Ryder, the New Zealand left-hander having only arrived in Essex on Thursday before being put into the side at Middlesex.

Napier then soon bowled Tom Fell for a duck to leave the hosts at 143 for three, before Mitchell's resistance was finally ended when he was caught at mid-on by Newby off Napier.

However, once Whiteley went for 27, caught in the covers by Mickelburgh off Newby and Alexei Kervezee soon followed on 25, Worcestershire were six down for 210.

The tail offered little after Cox edged behind to give debutant Salisbury his opening first-class wicket. Panesar accounted for both Joe Leach (17) and then Saeed Ajmal (4).

Worcestershire made two changes from the side which drew against Glamorgan.

Fell replaced Alex Hales, who has returned to Nottinghamshire, while a back injury sidelined leading wicket-taker Gareth Andrew, so Leach stepped up from the second XI.

Essex were without England captain Alastair Cook and Ravi Bopara, who are both set to take on Sri Lanka.

Salisbury was handed a first-class debut for the county, having featured in a warm-up game against the tourists at Chelmsford earlier in the week.