Russell keeps South Africa in check
Worcestershire paceman Chris Russell celebrated his first senior appearance for two years by dismissing three leading South Africa batsmen on the opening day of the tour game at New Road.
Russell made the most of his chance by removing openers Jacques Rudolph and Alviro Petersen during his first eight-over spell, which yielded the impressive figures of 2-21.
The 23-year-old, who made two List A appearances in 2010, then returned to the attack to bowl number five batsman Albie Morkel for 50.
Worcestershire bowling coach Matt Mason said: "Chris has taken a little bit of time to develop and still has got a lot to learn.
“He has still got that inconsistency you get with young cricketers, but he has been performing well for the second XI.
“We figured it was time to give him a chance to show us what he could do under a bit of pressure, and he did it pretty well.
“That performance will give him a bit of confidence. He has got good pace and extra zip and this was a good step forward for him.”
Petersen, in particular, had been looking for runs in this two-day match after his duck in the first Investec Test against England.
But Rudolph was also keen for time in the middle after the batting heroics of skipper Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis against Andrew Strauss’ side at the Kia Oval.
The same criteria applied to JP Duminy, although he made only five before being trapped lbw by Richard Jones.
It was left to stand-in skipper AB de Villiers to produce the most impressive batting after he had won the toss in front of a near full-house at New Road.
De Villiers, deputising for Smith who had returned home for the birth of his daughter on Wednesday, struck 12 boundaries in his 118-ball 80.
Russell shared the new ball and had Rudolph dropped on six by Neil Pinner at point, but the left-hander added only a single before he was bowled via an inside edge.
Petersen then drove at Russell and edged to Worcestershire skipper Daryl Mitchell at second slip to depart for 10.
It became 74 for three when Jones accounted for Duminy before de Villiers and Albie Morkel produced the most fluent batting of the innings during a stand of 91 in 22 overs.
Morkel reached his half-century off 69 balls with nine fours, but did not add to his tally before he was bowled by Russell.
Wickets then fell at regular intervals, including de Villiers who provided a notable scalp for Worcestershire debutant Joe Leach, a 21-year-old all-rounder.
Spinners Moeen Ali and Shaaiq Choudhry shared four wickets before the declaration at 237 for nine with 22 overs remaining.
Proteas paceman Dale Steyn continued the form shown against England by striking in his first two overs when Worcestershire launched their reply.
Mitchell, first ball, and Moeen both edged to Petersen at third slip to leave Worcestershire on four for two.
Morne Morkel also struck when brother Albie held on to a juggling catch at first slip to account for James Cameron for 14.
However, Matthew Pardoe provided stubborn resistance with 40 not out as the home side closed on 70 for three from 22 overs.