New Road (first day of four): Somerset have scored 408 all out in their first innings
County Championship cricket returned to New Road for another season - but sadly it was the same old story as Worcestershire were concerned.
If there is one question mark about the Championship chances of Vikram Solanki's team this season, it is the potential of his attack to bowl out teams twice.
There was certainly an air of missed opportunity yesterday as Somerset's late middle-order were let off the hook to pile up the runs.
Somerset quartet Cameron White, Wesley Durston, Peter Trego and Richard Johnson all scored half-centuries as the home side failed to exploit a promising morning session that had their guests slumping to 67 for three.
By the close, in fading light, watched by the home members with fast-fading enthusiasm, the visitors had claimed maximum batting points.
Worcestershire could have been forgiven for rubbing their hands with glee after winning the toss. They chose to leave out off-spinner Ray Price and put their trust in a four-man pace attack, hoping to exploit a little early-morning greenness in the wicket.
But, apart from the early loss of England star Marcus Trescothick after a rather worrying third successive Championship failure, the rest of the day never quite lived up to its early promise.
It had all started so well when, in an echo of his unhappy Indian winter, Trescothick bagged a duck - made all the more painful in that it was an Indian who claimed his scalp.
In only his third over, Worcestershire's new overseas signing, Zaheer Khan, marked his debut with the day's prize early wicket by persuading Trescothick to edge one to first slip.
Trescothick found his form in one-day cricket with 158 in the Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy match against Kent last Sunday. But scores of 12, 4 and 0 at the four-day game had him heading for the New Road nets.
While he was away working on his ball skills, the rest of the Somerset batting order showed him how it should be done.
Admittedly, the visitors briefly stuttered with the loss of John Francis, who sliced Matt Mason to Gareth Batty at point, and Matthew Wood, who was caught behind.
Although James Hildreth holed out after lunch, the rest was a procession of 50s from Nos 5, 6, 8 and 9 in their batting order.
White's effort in hitting 65 was hardly a surprise after the 172 smashed by the young Australian on his Somerset debut against Gloucestershire last week. Given the performance he put in on his last trip to Worcester, perhaps Trego's success come as a surprise either.
He was the star of the show just up the road at St George's Lane last December when, despite his sterling efforts between the sticks in making a string of fine saves, the part-time Chippenham Town goal-keeper could not prevent his team bowing out of the FA Cup in a first-round replay against Worcester City.
He also starred briefly with Herefordshire in the Minor Counties Championship in the early part of last season and had even signed to play for Halesowen in the Birmingham League, before being offered a route back to county cricket with Middlesex.
His 51 here - including a tracer missile of a six with a flat-batted pull into the pavilion - gave the impression that it might be some time before he's seen in Minor Counties cricket again.
There was an air of feeling at home, too, about Durston, who completed his education just up the road at University College, Worcester.
His cricketing education seems to be coming along nicely, too, after top-scoring with a patient 74.
But the most punishing of all Somerset's half-centurions was Richard Johnson, who struck some belligerent blows in a particularly morale-sapping ninth-wicket stand of 83 with Andrew Caddick.
Johnson also scored 51, smashing a six and ten fours from only 41 balls. It was no surprise that all of the Worcestershire attack suffered.
Zaheer and Nadeem ran up three-figure analyses, although hauls of four and three wickets respectively were some consolation.
Mason, as usual, was the most economical while Kabir Ali's two for 99 will hardly have the Test selectors twitching quite just yet.
How the Worcestershire batsmen respond today could say much about their chances of success this season.
Meanwhile, Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes is convinced Tresco-thick will hit back strongly from his early-season struggle for runs in the Championship.
Rhodes believes it is only a matter of time before the 30-year-old left-handed opener starts to set the league alight.
He said: "England early in the season is a difficult place to bat. The ball seams around, the wickets are fresh and you can get some low scores. It's as simple as that.
"I wouldn't say he's not in nick or anything like that because, after all, he's already got 158 in a one-day game this season. That tells you he's in pretty good nick really." ..SUPL: