Hain holds off Leach threat
Warwickshire 258-8 (Hain 82, Leach 5-68) vs Worcestershire
Warwickshire closed on 258 for 8, 19-year-old Hain top-scoring with 82, a measured and strong-minded innings compiled under pressure with his team in trouble.
Most of that trouble was caused by 24-year-old seamer Leach who continued his stylish return to first-team colours in place of the injured Gareth Andrew. Leach ended the day with 24-5-68-5, only his second five-wicket haul in first-class cricket.
With the ball moving around all day, batting was never easy and, while Warwickshire look set for only a moderate total, their strong seam attack will expect to cause plenty of problems when their turn comes.
After bowling Somerset out for 90 last week, Worcestershire's three-pronged seam battery of Leach, Charlie Morris and Jack Shantry took up where they left off, reducing the home side to 53 for 3, a deserved reward for some fine pre-lunch bowling.
Leach soon dismissed Varun Chopra, caught at second slip, and the in-form Ian Westwood, adjudged lbw to one that looked rather high. William Porterfield dug in for 29 before glancing Shantry down the leg-side to wicketkeeper Ben Cox.
Hain and Laurie Evans batted watchfully to add 87 in 30 overs for the fourth wicket before, just after posting his first half-century of the season, Evans mis-pulled Leach to mid-on to fall for 50. Leach soon struck again when he sent Tim Ambrose's middle stump flying.
That left the home side on a parlous 142 for 5 but Hain found another resolute partner in Rikki Clarke and they added 73 before both perished to the new ball after tea. Leach trapped Hain lbw with an excellent delivery and then Morris had Clarke caught at mid-off and Jeetan Patel pouched behind.
Keith Barker and Chris Wright added an unbroken 27 in the closing overs of the day, very handy runs in the context of a likely low-scoring game.
Moeen Ali is in Worcestershire's team having been allowed to play by the ECB, but Ian Bell has not been released and Warwickshire are also without Jonathan Trott, not considered for selection to "let the dust settle," as director of cricket Dougie Brown put it, following Trott's abrupt retirement from international cricket.