Ollie Robinson fifty buoys Durham as wickets tumble

Ollie Robinson staved off a Durham collapse Getty Images

Worcestershire 78 for 4 trail Durham 244 (Robinson 55, Finch 3-37, Holder 3-47) by 166 runs

Ollie Robinson spearheaded a powerful Durham response with the bat after Jason Holder had threatened to place Worcestershire in a position of strength on day one of the Vitality County Championship match with Durham at Kidderminster.

The England Lions keeper was responsible for a partial recovery after Durham had subsided to 141 for 7 midway through the afternoon session.

Former West Indies captain Holder, who is available for the opening five Championship matches, had bowled an inspired spell of 8-2-26-3 to remove David Bedingham, Graham Clark and Paul Coughlin post lunch. But Robinson went on the offensive to such an extent that his half-century came up in only 41 balls with three sixes and five fours.

Ben Raine and Matthew Potts provided useful lower order support and then made early inroads with the ball but Jake Libby dug in for an unbeaten 35.

Worcestershire were back playing first-class cricket at Chester Road for the first time in four years because of the series of eight floods which have engulfed New Road this winter. At least the first two home Championship matches after Worcestershire's promotion with Durham from Division Two are being staged at Kidderminster.

Groundstaff are hoping for a dry spring to enhance hopes of playing the third home match against Nottinghamshire - beginning at May 24 - at the county's headquarters.

Both sides were forced into changes because of injury setbacks. Worcestershire's in-form batter Kashif Ali was ruled out with a back injury suffered during training, while Durham pace bowler Scott Boland suffered a foot injury during the drawn game with Warwickshire at Edgbaston. Brydon Carse was also unavailable due to his match play management schedule.

Play got underway half an hour late and Durham captain Scott Borthwick opted to bat on his 34th birthday as the Dukes ball returned to the bowlers' armoury. But it was not a happy anniversary for Borthwick as the home side struck two early blows.

Borthwick had failed to trouble the scorers when a delivery in the first over from Joe Leach beat his outside edge and hit the top of off stump. And it became 19 for 2 when Alex Lees pushed forward to Nathan Smith and fell to a low catch by Holder away to his right at second slip.

Colin Ackermann had an escape on 18 when he flicked Holder off his legs and saw the chance put down at midwicket. The third-wicket pair of Ackermann and David Bedingham had to fight hard for runs although the latter greeted Matthew Waite's entrance into the attack with successive cover drives for four.

Durham reached 89 for 2 at lunch but Holder switched to the pavilion end and struck in the first over back. Bedingham on 38 went to cut the former West Indies captain but only succeeded in chopping onto his stumps.

Leach bowled a probing post lunch spell and was rewarded when Ackermann (47) went lbw to a delivery angled back in.

Holder was constantly asking questions and struck again when Graham Clark was lbw working to leg. Adam Finch then replaced Leach and immediately tasted some success as Bas de Leede played a similar shot and perished in the same fashion.

Robinson decided attack was the best policy and received excellent support from Ben Raine during a stand of 61 in 8.4 overs. The Durham wicketkeeper struck Waite for two straight sixes in an over and raced to his half-century. But Waite had the final say when Robinson pushed forward and keeper Gareth Roderick held onto a low catch.

Finch wrapped up the innings with two wickets in three balls as Raine top edged a pull through to Roderick and Callum Parkinson missed a full toss and was lbw.

But Worcestershire quickly ran into trouble against the new ball attack of Raine and Matthew Potts. Raine had Roderick caught behind and club captain Brett D'Oliveira offered no shot and was bowled by Potts.

Libby and Rob Jones initially dug in but then started to reel off a series of fine strokes. The stand was worth 60 when Jones (32) pushed forward to Coughlin and was lbw and then Adam Hose chopped the same bowler onto his stumps.

Worcester 4th innings Partnerships

1st49GH RoderickJD Libby
2nd0BL D'OliveiraJD Libby
3rd52JD LibbyRP Jones
4th2AJ HoseJD Libby
5th18JO HolderJD Libby
6th14JD LibbyMJ Waite
7th103MJ WaiteNG Smith
8th17MJ WaiteJO Baker
9th16J LeachMJ Waite
10th1J LeachAW Finch