Worcestershire v Glamorgan, New Road, 1st day July 17, 2008

Solanki prospers as Glamorgan toil

John Ward at Worcester

Worcestershire 307 for 4 (Mitchell 78, Solanki 69, Smith 58*, Moore 57) v Glamorgan

It was a bread-and-butter day in Division Two of the County Championship at New Road as the home side put themselves into a good position by means of steady batting against Glamorgan. Four batsmen scored fifties, with that by Vikram Solanki the most attractive, while Ben Smith lives to carry on the fight into the second day. The home crowd were duly appreciative of their team's efforts, although they were disappointed that Graeme Hick was the only batsman to miss out.

Glamorgan, winning the toss, put Worcestershire in under a cloudy sky that emitted occasional spells of light drizzle during the morning. They were perhaps a little unlucky, but their bowlers failed to vindicate this decision. Jason Gillespie, looking a little like Andy Caddick as his hair is now shorter and greyer, swung the ball early on and beat the bat several times, but his line was too wide of the off stump to put real pressure on the batsmen.

Daryl Mitchell put the fourth ball of the match, from Gillespie, through the covers for a handsome four, but apart from this the home side made a slow start, with Stephen Moore struggling to get off the mark. But they gradually settled, and their opening partnership of 109 - they were unbeaten with 96 at lunch - was notable mainly for its steady accumulation, with more than half the runs coming from boundaries as they took good toll of the loose deliveries. The Glamorgan bowling was weak rather than bad, with honest triers doing their best but with little help from the pitch or encouragement from the batsmen.

Moore, the more aggressive of the two once he had settled, reached his fifty before lunch off 83 balls, but was the first to go, pulling a ball from Dean Harrison to be caught near the midwicket boundary for 57. Mitchell soon afterward reached his own fifty (114 balls), and looked likely to complete a sound if unspectacular century when he uncharacteristically fished at a ball from Alex Wharf outside the off stump and edged a catch to Mark Wallace, the keeper.

Solanki was the most aggressive batsman on view, taking only 70 balls for his 50, and soon after that hitting a big straight six off Jamie Dalrymple into the upper stand over the sightscreen. He eventually made 69 off 94 before presenting left-arm spinner Dean Cosker with a soft dismissal, charging down the pitch to be stumped. Hick (5) did not last long, caught low at first slip off James Harris, and Worcestershire were 252 for 4.

Steve Davies settled in confidently in partnership with Ben Smith, who became the fourth batsman to reach 50, off 104 balls. There was no more encouragement for Glamorgan during the evening, which finished with the home county well on top through sound and unspectacular methods.

Worcestershire gave an outing to seam bowler Imran Arif, who is a curiosity. He has played for the second elevens of Sussex and Hampshire as well as Worcestershire, and also for the Yorkshire Academy. However, he still has a Pakistani passport and is therefore officially registered as an overseas player. This is his first-class debut.