Rose Bowl: Worcestershire 132 (D G Cork 4-10;) v Hampshire 76-4.
Dominic Cork revived memories of his England peak with a devastating spell of three wickets in four balls on his Hampshire debut as Worcestershire faced up to life without the reassuring presence of Graeme Hick.
Missing the retired Hick for the first time in 25 years, Worcestershire folded to 132 all out at the Rose Bowl after captain Vikram Solanki decided to make first use of a wicket that offered bounce and movement.
Worcestershire were already reeling from the news former England pace bowler Simon Jones was ruled out for two months and in need of another knee operation, and the day only got worse.
Daryl Mitchell and Stephen Moore looked in control in an opening partnership of 37 and at one stage Worcestershire were 101 for three before Cork induced a slump in which the visitors lost their last seven wickets for 31.
Cork, freshly installed on the south coast after leaving Lancashire, was involved in all that was best about Hampshire’s bowling and fielding.
From the moment he caught Moore in the slips in David Balcombe’s first over, the former England all-rounder was in dominant form.
Balcombe soon removed Solanki and Ben Smith was caught at the wicket groping at a wide delivery from young spinner Liam Dawson. Mitchell battled gamely for 160 minutes and 110 balls in making a top score of 31 but, once he had fended Chris Tremlett into the slips at 101, the rest was processional.
Cork removed Gareth Batty, Kabir Ali and Chris Whelan, all leg before, in a typically exuberant first spell and, when he had Matt Mason caught at the wicket, his innings figures were four for 10 in eight overs.
Moeen Ali was last out, lobbing James Tomlinson to Dawson at mid-off to leave the entire Worcestershire bating line-up back in the pavilion by the 53rd over.
Hampshire showed no signs of mastering the pitch either when they began their response after the whole of the first session had been the victim of rain.
Michael Carberry and Michael Lumb were both caught at the wicket off Kabir and John Crawley was held by Solanki in the slips off Mason to leave Hampshire a precarious 10 for three.
Then James Adams and Sean Ervine figured in the best stand of the day – 63 – for the fourth Hampshire wicket before Ervine lifted Whelan to Mason at mid-on.
Adams was still there at the close, unbeaten with 33 to leave Hampshire on 76 for four, a deficit of 56 on a day when 14 wickets fell and batsmen were rarely on top.