Leicestershire dominate at New Road

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Will Jefferson

Will Jefferson's 64 helped Leicestershire close the opening day of the clash with Worcestershire trailing by just 12 runs

Leicestershire made a powerful return to LV= County Championship action at New Road as, after dismissing Worcestershire for 175, they closed only 12 behind following half-centuries from Will Jefferson and Jacques Du Toit.

The only bright spot for the home side was a seventh-wicket partnership of 71 between Ben Cox and Gareth Andrew after they had buckled to 77 for six in this Division Two clash in the face of impressive swing and seam bowling.

Six days after completing his A-levels at Bromsgrove School, Cox marked his second championship appearance by making 42, while the resourceful Andrew hit an unbeaten 53 off 96 balls.

Wicketkeeper Cox held two catches as Leicestershire replied with 163 for three in 36 overs, but Worcestershire's seamers could not prevent Jefferson and Du Toit, who made 64 and 57 respectively, putting on 107 for the second wicket.

In the morning session, everything that captain Mathew Hoggard did turned to profit for Leicestershire.

The former England bowler rattled Daryl Mitchell's off stump with his fifth delivery and his first bowling changes brought instant success.

Phil Jaques pulled Nadeem Malik's third delivery to mid-on and Moeen Ali, after making some headway with six fours, was leg before for 33 in James Benning's second over.

For Malik it was a rewarding return to championship cricket after a break of 21 months since his last game in September 2008.

After being troubled by a back problem last season, he resumed against one of his former sides with a testing spell in which he also bowled Alexei Kervezee. He finished with 2-50 from 12 overs.

Teenage prospect Nathan Buck went empty-handed with the new ball but was quickly on the button when he came back to have Ben Smith caught behind for 14. A second wicket followed after lunch when James Cameron edged to slip.

That was the cue for 18-year-old Cox to reinforce a favourable first impression from last September, when he made 61 on debut against Somerset at Taunton.

Now signed up on a four-year contract, he has returned as the county's first-choice wicketkeeper, taking over after a three-month loan stint by Middlesex's Ben Scott.

Cox batted with good judgement in picking off eight fours before Leicestershire's spinners, Jigar Naik and Claude Henderson, shared the last four wickets.

With Cox caught behind from Naik's fourth delivery, Andrew made the best of limited support from the tail, reaching his fifth championship half-century with seven fours and a six.

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