Worcestershire make the South Africans work
Worcestershire 70 for 3 (Pardoe 40*, Steyn 2-26) trail South Africans 237 for 9 dec. (de Villiers 80, Russell 3-40) by 167 runs
Two wickets in two overs from Dale Steyn and half centuries from AB de Villiers and Albie Morkel papered over the South Africans' unresolved issues after the first day of their tour match against Worcestershire. The three batsmen who most needed time in the middle were all out cheaply on one of their only opportunities to have match time ahead of the second Test at Headingley next week.
Openers Alviro Petersen and Jacques Rudolph, the latter standing in for Graeme Smith who is back home with his new-born daughter, were dismissed in the first eight overs. JP Duminy made just 5 and Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel were dismissed cheaply. A useful contribution from Vernon Philander, who has not lived up to his allrounder status thus far, buoyed the South African lower order.
After a fairly quiet start, Rudolph tried his first aggressive shot off David Lucas in the fifth over only for Neil Pinner at point to put the chance down. However, the drop was not costly as Rudolph inside-edged onto his stumps playing an expansive drive four balls later.
De Villiers hit the first boundary of the match, a pull through midwicket, to set the tone for his innings but Petersen could not follow suit. The opener, who made a duck in the Test match, looked tentative and eventually succumbed when he went forward to Chris Russell, who has yet to play a first-class game, and got an edge to second slip.
The innings was steadied by de Villiers, who brought out his full range of strokes, and JP Duminy, another who did not bat at The Oval. They put on a partnership of 53, although Duminy contributed minimally and it was up to de Villiers' drives and pulls to keep the score moving. Duminy was lbw when he played back to Jones.
Albie Morkel, who did not feature in the squad until an injury ruled out Marchant de Lange, made a solid start with two boundaries off Jones' sixth over and used the opportunity to put it an extended innings. Morkel was solid after lunch, with his cover drive earning him most of his runs and put on 91 with de Villiers for the fourth wicket. He was also dismissed after missing a drive, to give Russell his third wicket.
Morkel's was the first of five wickets that fell in 72 runs. De Villiers was caught at cover playing a lazy shot and the spinners did the rest of the damage. Moeen Ali removed Steyn and Morne Morkel while Shaaiq Choudhry undid the replacement wicketkeeper Thami Tsolekile and Robin Peterson, who was caught at mid-on.
South Africa declared with 22 overs left in the day and Dale Steyn steamed in to make an immediate impact. He induced the edge of Daryl Mitchell off the first ball of the innings and Alviro Petersen dived to his right to take the catch. With the first ball of his next over, Steyn removed Moeen, caught by the same fielder.
Matt Pardoe and James Cameron saw off 12 and a half overs before Cameron was caught at first slip. Pardoe saw out the day to end on an unbeaten 40.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent