Worcestershire 31 for 3 trail Australians 266 for 5 declared (Head 109*, Khawaja 57) by 235 runs
Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood made contrasting entries to the Ashes tour under the gaze of Worcester Cathedral at New Road, the former’s ability to take wickets but also go for runs neatly encapsulated in a spell reading 4-1-27-1 after the tourists had declared at 266 for 5 on the opening day.
Taking the new ball, Starc got his line right in the opening over to pin Tom Fell lbw for a duck and with 1 for 0 after a single over would have been happy with his start. However, with the captain Tim Paine looking on from mid off – Matthew Wade taking the gloves in this game – Starc’s next three overs went for 27, most of them finding the middle of the talented teenager Jack Haynes’ bat, to the delight of a largely sedate crowd.
Hazlewood, meanwhile, gave virtually nothing away while returning 2 for 2 from four overs, bowling Josh Dell off his glove with some prancing bounce and then getting Haynes lbw in his final over before the close. The combination of wickets and economy would have been of interest to Paine and the watching selection chairman Trevor Hohns, as all assess their options ahead of the second Test at Lord’s next week.
Sent in to bat by Worcestershire on a fine if cloudy morning, Marcus Harris and Cameron Bancroft had opened for the Australians but neither would have been entirely happy with their stays. Harris was only able to survive for 58 minutes before he was bowled trying to leave one from the otherwise-expensive Adam Finch, and Bancroft made a determined start before also losing his stumps in trying to drive at Josh Tongue.
More comfortable were Usman Khawaja, gliding to an attractive 57 before touching a good one from Tongue behind the stumps, and Travis Head, who made the most of his return to a ground where he played county cricket last year by carving out a third hundred in six matches on this tour, having also contributed a useful 35 and 51 at Edgbaston.
There was time too for Wade to punch 20 from 16 balls before Paine declared, giving Starc and Hazlewood 45 minutes of bowling before the 6pm close. Wade kept wicket in order to prepare himself for the event of Paine being sidelined from one of the remaining four Tests and forcing a change in gloveman, while also granting the captain a mental break from the task of keeping wicket.