Arif makes an immediate impression
Glamorgan 136 for 4 (Rees 59*) trail Worcestershire 457 for 8 (Smith 99, Davies 83, Mitchell 78, Solanki 69, Moore 57) by 321 runs
After conceding a total of 457 to Worcestershire, Glamorgan found their top-order batting shattered by a remarkable spell of genuine pace bowling from the home side's overseas debutant, Imran Arif. In his first six overs in first-class cricket, the 24-year-old former Yorkshire Academy bowler, born in Kashmir and with a Pakistani passport, ripped out three top-order wickets to give his team a fair chance of winning this match - weather permitting.
In the morning, Worcestershire continued very capably from their overnight score of 307 for 4. Overnight batsmen Ben Smith and Steven Davies again had to face some good deliveries early on from Jason Gillespie - who again had no luck - but otherwise they had no problem in taking control of the bowling. Davies, who played some superb off drives in particular, dominated the partnership, gaining steadily on Smith, and one wondered if he might beat him to the century.
In the event, neither was to reach the landmark. Smith moved smoothly through the nineties, with Davies about 20 behind, until he reached 99. Then came an unexpectedly awkward delivery just outside the off stump from the persevering seamer James Harris, that bounced at some pace and, caught in two minds, Smith appeared to decide too late not to play it and was caught at first slip. The pair had added 143 for the fifth wicket, and Davies soon followed, driving a hard catch straight at cover, where Gareth Rees held it at the second attempt.
After lunch, Kabir Ali made 12 before being caught by Mark Wallace at the wicket down the leg side, sweeping at the left-arm spinner Dean Cosker, and by now Worcestershire were looking for a declaration. This was not immediately obvious, as Simon Jones bats the same way in most circumstances. His 25 off 23 balls was very much block-and-slog, containing as it did four sixes, a single, and 18 dot balls. He got off the mark with a six off none other than Gillespie, over long-on, and followed with three more off Cosker, the biggest being over cow corner over the trees into the car park. Going for a fifth, he was held off a skier near the midwicket boundary.
Worcestershire immediately declared, with Gareth Batty undefeated with a sedate 18. Their 457 for 8 was their highest total of the season to date. Harris and Cosker took three wickets each, with Alex Wharf the most disappointing bowler, going for more than five an over.
Richard Grant began Glamorgan's reply positively, with some good strokes and some fortuitous ones, mostly off Jones, who was quick but a little erratic at times. At the other end Kabir bowled five tight overs for five runs before Rees off drove him superbly for four. At 42, Grant (27) was strangled down the leg side off Jones, and soon after Imran was called upon to bowl his first over for the first time. He managed two balls before a drizzle started and an early tea was called.
It took almost two hours for him to complete that over, and he showed some impressive pace. He struck in his third over, as David Hemp (3) flashed outside the off stump and edged a catch to the keeper. Michael Powell soon followed, after a handsome cover drive for four, also caught by the keeper, a harder one at the second attempt, diving to his right. Two balls later, Jamie Dalrymple no doubt hoped to get away with four leg-byes; unfortunately for him, he was instead adjudged lbw without scoring, and Glamorgan were in trouble at 56 for 4. Imran had taken three wickets in 11 balls; in his spell, he took 3 for 22 in six overs.
Not wanting to burn him out, Vikram Solanki rested him after this, and this enabled Rees and Mark Wallace to bat with considerable freedom, the former running to his fifty off 105 balls, after a slow start. It was surprising that the captain did not give Imran even two more overs before the belated close of play - a combination of rain and an abysmal over rate - as by the close the pair had added a further 80 runs with little difficulty.