Updated: 28/07/2012 17:40 | By pa.press.net

Russell keeps South Africa in check



AB de Villiers top-scored for the South Africans with 80

AB de Villiers top-scored for the South Africans with 80

Worcestershire paceman Chris Russell celebrated his first senior appearance for two years by dismissing three leading South African batsmen on the opening day of the tour game at New Road.

Russell made the most of his chance by removing openers Jacques Rudolph (7) and Alviro Petersen (10) during his first eight over spell, which yielded the impressive figures of two for 21.

The 23-year-old, who made two List A appearances in 2010, then returned to the attack to bowl number five batsman Albie Morkel for 50.

Petersen, in particular, had been looking for runs in this two-day match after his duck in the first Investec Test against England. However, Rudolph was also keen for time in the middle after the batting heroics of skipper Graeme Smith, Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis against Andrew Strauss' side at The Oval.

The same criteria applied to JP Duminy although he only made five before being trapped lbw by Richard Jones. It was left to stand-in skipper AB de Villiers (80) to produce the most impressive batting after he had won the toss in front of a near full-house at New Road.

De Villiers, deputising for Smith who had returned home for the birth of his daughter on Wednesday, struck 12 boundaries in his 118 ball innings. Russell shared the new ball and had Rudolph bowled via an inside edge. Petersen then drove at Russell and edged to Worcestershire skipper Daryl Mitchell at second slip.

It became 74 for three when Jones accounted for Duminy before De Villiers and Albie Morkel produced the most fluent batting of the innings during a stand of 91 in 22 overs. Morkel reached his half century off 69 balls with nine fours but did not add to his tally before he was bowled by Russell.

Wickets then fell at regular intervals, including De Villiers who provided a notable scalp for Worcestershire debutant, and 21-year-old all-rounder Joe Leach. Spinners Moeen Ali and Shaaiq Choudhry shared four wickets before the declaration at 237 for nine with 22 overs remaining.

Proteas paceman Dale Steyn continued the form shown against England by striking in his first two overs when Worcestershire launched their reply. Mitchell (0) and Moeen (4) both edged to Petersen at third slip to leave Worcestershire on four for two.

Morne Morkel also struck when brother Albie held on to a juggling catch at first slip to account for James Cameron (14). But Matthew Pardoe (40 not out) provided stubborn resistance as the home side closed on 70 for three from 22 overs.

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