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Moeen Ali makes Test case as Steven Davies digs in to guide Somerset

Moeen Ali claims a wicket for Worcestershire Getty Images

Somerset 324 for 9 (Davies 72, Hildreth 57) v Worcestershire
Scorecard

Steven Davies top-scored against his former county as Somerset twice fought back from testing situations on the opening day of the Specsavers County Championship Division One clash with bottom-placed Worcestershire at Blackfinch New Road.

The wicketkeeper batsman hit a fluent 72 and there were also half centuries from Tom Abell and James Hildreth as Somerset recovered from 11 for 2 and then 115 for 4 to reach 324 for 9 from 96 overs by the close.

England spinner Moeen Ali picked up three wickets on his return to Championship cricket.

Worcestershire handed a Championship debut to wicket-keeper batsman Alex Milton, who was tidy and picked up three catches, and on loan Nottinghamshire paceman Luke Wood.

Somerset's new overseas player, Azhar Ali, made his first appearance for the County as the replacement for the injured Australian batsman Matt Renshaw.

Brett D'Oliveira opted to put the visitors into bat after winning the toss and the new ball attack of Magoffin and Wood made a double breakthrough.

Magoffin asked questions of both batsmen during an initial spell of 6-4-5-1 and he accounted for Edward Byrom (5) - caught behind by Milton who replaced broken-rib victim Ben Cox after 76 successive Championship appearances spanning five seasons.

In the next over Wood trapped Marcus Trescothick lbw for 6 in his first appearance since May after recovering from a broken metatarsal with the total on 11.

Azhar and Hildreth were initially watchful but then flourished during a third wicket stand of 99 in 28 overs.

Hildreth, a century-maker at Taunton in the early season fixture between the sides, was the dominant partner and reached a 99 ball half century with 11 boundaries but Azhar provided a solid ally.

The game edged back in Worcestershire favour with two wickets to Dillon Pennington during a fiery pre-lunch spell. Azhar (37) pushed forward and nicked through to Milton and then Hildreth (57) shouldered arms and was bowled at 115 for 4.

A second Somerset period of recovery was instigated by Abell and Davies during a partnership of 126 in 33 overs.

But it could have ended with the total on 140 as Abell (25) swept Moeen to backward square leg only for Joe Clarke, who was directly facing the sun, to allow the ball to slip through his hands and over the boundary rope.

Davies straight drove Moeen for six and was first to his half century from 72 balls with also eight fours to his name.

Abell followed his team-mate to fifty in more circumspect fashion from 107 balls. But Moeen broke the partnership when Davies (72) played back and nicked to Milton who held onto a sharp chance. He then claimed another wicket as Peter Trego (1) was leg before.

Magoffin returned with the second new ball and picked up a deserved second wicket as Abell - 70 from 151 balls with 13 fours - was lbw.

But then the Overton brothers, Craig (31) and Jamie (28), plundered 51 in eight overs before falling to Moeen and Ed Barnard respectively.