Moeen holds up Sussex
Moeen Ali battled to keep Worcestershire afloat on a hard-fought second day of their LV= County Championship clash with Sussex at New Road.
The left-hander made 85 from 179 balls as the home side reached 231 for seven – to still trail by 84 - after their former seamer, Steve Magoffin, had shone with bat and ball for Sussex.
The 32-year-old Australian smashed an unbeaten 41 to secure a third bonus point in leading Sussex to 315 and then removed compatriot Michael Klinger as Worcestershire made a faltering start.
Klinger edged to second slip in his last championship match before Phil Hughes takes up Worcestershire’s overseas slot at the end of the month.
Jimmy Anyon, who put on 59 for Sussex’s ninth wicket with Magoffin, made the first breakthrough with a full-length delivery cutting back at Daryl Mitchell.
But it was Magoffin’s brisk pace and unerring line that did most to keep up the pressure. Nine of his first 18 overs were maidens and late in the day he came back with the new ball to remove Gareth Andrew for a full return of 2-28.
Unlike Worcestershire – when Sussex’s last four wickets added 148 – the visitors were also able to explore an alternative approach with Monty Panesar removing two top-order batsmen.
In front of England selector James Whitaker, Panesar made an immediate impact after being brought on to curb the attacking instincts of Vikram Solanki and Moeen.
The change paid off in his third over. Solanki, having hit five fours in making 34, took up the challenge by venturing down the pitch but effectively yorked himself and the ball squeezed through to take middle stump.
New batsman James Cameron clattered a six into the roof of the New Road Stand before Panesar exacted revenge with the aid of a good catch by Chris Nash at short-leg.
Moeen, after some uncertainty, grew in authority and found an able partner in Matthew Pardoe.
Having saved Worcestershire from defeat by Surrey last week, the 21-year-old left hander shared in a partnership of 96.
They took the score to 206 for four before falling to Naveed Arif Gondal. Moeen was swishing across the line when given out lbw and Pardoe, who made 28, nicked a routine catch behind the wicket.