DARYL Mitchell’s unbeaten half-century helped put Worcestershire in control on the opening day at Northamptonshire's sunny Wantage Road.

Having bowled the hosts out for 238 in Specsavers County Championship Division Two the opener's 52 not out steered the visitors to 108-2 by the close, trailing by 130.

Having gone past 10,000 first-class runs for Worcestershire in making 120 at Derbyshire last week Mitchell helped the County back up their bowlers’ earlier work with a typically composed knock.

He struck five boundaries in going past fifty in 78 balls.

Mitchell shared an opening stand of 77 in 14.5 overs with Brett D’Oliveira as Worcestershire made bright progress after tea.

But Northants responded through Nathan Buck who took out D’Oliveira’s middle stump for 35 and Rory Kleinveldt as he pinned Tom Fell lbw for a six-ball duck.

Had Richard Levi held a diving chance when Joe Clarke had seven six overs from the close the day would have taken a more even feel but by going in overnight just two down Worcestershire held the balance of the game.

The visitors did not contest the toss on a cloudless day and after a benign first hour seemed justified in the decision with the wicket offering assistance for the seamers.

The nastiest delivery was sent down by Jack Shantry, one that leapt off a length to take the shoulder of Richard Levi’s bat.

The chance was spilled by Mitchell at second slip but Tom Kohler-Cadmore had time to turn around and complete the catch with the batsman on 10.

Rob Keogh, on his return from a finger injury, also received a decent ball.

Ed Barnard (2-50) got one to hold its line from a full length and Keogh edged to Mitchell for just three.

But the other two dismissals before lunch were entirely batsman error.

Max Holden, opening the batting in place of the injured Rob Newton, drove Joe Leach lazily to D'Oliveira at point for an 11-ball duck.

Then Ben Duckett’s poor start to the season continued with a mistimed pull that brought a top-edge off Josh Tongue taken by wicketkeeper Ben Cox running back for 24.

Alex Wakely survived a sharp chance to gully on 27 but reached 49 by the interval.

However, he fell four balls into the afternoon without adding to his score as Northants slumped to 161-8 among a combination of poor strokes and skilful bowling.

Steven Crook and Adam Rossington shared 48 for the sixth wicket.

But Crook was lbw for 19, Rossington tamely chipped Shantry (3-54) to Nathan Lyon at mid-wicket for 36 and Kleinveldt smashed the same bowler to Fell at extra cover for just nine.

Northants were begging for a partnership and found one through Graeme White and Nathan Buck.

They shared 69 for the ninth wicket.

White was the senior partner, cutting Barnard for four and driving Shantry over extra cover for six.

He pulled Tongue through mid-on to bring up the half-century stand — the first of the innings.

White was last man out for 47 when pulling Tongue (2-62) to long leg.

Buck played his part in the alliance and slog-swept Lyon for six over long-on and made 29 before edging Leach (3-36) to first slip Kohler-Cadmore.