WORCESTERSHIRE’s Ben Cox scored an aggressive half-century before the Worcestershire CCC bowlers struck back on the pre-season game’s opening day with Somerset at Taunton.

The wicket-keeper batsman reached a 54 ball fifty in the highlight performance of the Worcestershire first innings total of 116 all out in 35.4 overs.

Somerset put Worcestershire into bat and quickly got to work with dismissing them in quick fashion. Jake Libby (0) was trapped lbw by Sonny Baker before Daryl Mitchell (13), Tom Fell (1) and Brett D’Oliveira (0) fell for very little.

Riki Wessels provided some resistance by striking three boundaries before he too was caught by Jamie Baird.

Cox immediately looked full of positive intent and collected two boundaries in the space of three balls from Baker.

Ed Barnard (2) helped him add 26 before hammering Tom Abell straight to point, and then, in the first over after lunch, captain Joe Leach (0) top-edged Josh Davey straight to mid-on.

Cox was given good support by Charlie Morris on his way to his fifty with a quick single. He added one more run before lbw to Baker to end a stand of 36 with Morris, who, after striking four boundaries in his 17, edged Davey to first slip to complete the innings.

Cox took two fine catches as the Worcestershire attack made inroads at regular intervals in the Somerset first innings, as they closed on 156-8.

Morris made the first Worcestershire breakthrough with the last ball of the fourth over to dismiss Eddie Byrom.

Leach was also amongst the wickets as Tom Banton (14) went lbw before Tom Abell and Lewis Goldsworthy saw Somerset to 63-2 at tea.

Ed Barnard dismissed Abell (20) when he edged a ball to Cox to start the session and Adam Finch picked up his first scalp when Will Smeed (12) could only chop a testing delivery onto his stumps at 76-4.

Cox again excelled with another tumbling catch to dispose of Lewis Goldsworthy (30) to give Morris his second wicket. Leach took two more before D’Oliveira trapped Sam Young late on.