sport

Worcestershire have the edge

A classy unbeaten hundred from Moeen Ali handed Worcestershire the momentum on the opening day of their Championship clash at Surrey.

The England man was unbeaten on 138 at the close of play as Worcestershire reached 329 for four at stumps.

Worcestershire won the toss and chose to bat first - a decision that was vindicated by Moeen, Matthew Pardoe and captain Daryl Mitchell's heroics with the bat.

In gloriously warm conditions in London Worcestershire made steady progress against Matt Dunn, Chris Tremlett and Jade Dernbach, with The Pears reaching 40 without loss by the end of the 10th over.

Pardoe was especially finding the conditions to his liking as he regularly dispatched Surrey's bowlers to the boundary and he brought up his half-century with a four off the bowling of Gareth Batty on the last ball of the 19th over.

Batty got his revenge six balls later when he bowled Pardoe to give Surrey a long overdue breakthrough. Pardoe's 62-ball innings of 52 included eight fours and a six as Worcestershire reached 88 for one.

Number three Moeen picked up where Pardoe left off, with the England man clubbing Batty to the ropes on the first ball he faced.

Moeen then proceeded to launch Batty for a four and a six in the 23rd over as the Worcestershire scoreboard kept ticking over with Mitchell happy to play the support role as he had with Pardoe.

With Mitchell and Moeen in good nick, Worcestershire reached lunch on 129 for one as Pardoe's wicket was the only one to fall in the first two sessions.

Mitchell brought up his half-century at the end of the 39th over with his first boundary for 24 overs. The milestone took 92 balls with just six fours.

Nine overs later and Tremlett brought Mitchell's innings to a close on 62 - the 30-year-old clean bowled having hit six fours in a 116-ball knock as Worcestershire reached 175 for two.

Moeen dispatched Dernbach to the boundary to bring up his 50 at the start of the 54th over and with Tom Fell for company, Worcestershire moved to 232 without further loss at tea with Moeen on 75 and Fell on 25.

A leg-side single off the bowling off Zafar Ansari saw Moeen enter the 90s in the 70th over and the England man raised his bat after reaching triple figures at the start of the 75th over.

Five overs later and at last Surrey had something to smile about when Ansari pinned Fell leg-before-wicket for 41 to bring number five batsman Alexei Kervezee into the action.

Kervezee's stay at the crease was short as he edged a Tremlett delivery to second slip where Jason Roy held on to secure Surrey's fourth dismissal of the day in the 82nd over.

Worcestershire were to reach the close without further loss, with Moeen on 138 and Ross Whiteley on five.