CENTURIES from Daryl Mitchell and Hamish Rutherford saw Worcestershire establish a dominant position after the visitors were put in by Leicestershire on the opening day of the Specsavers County Championship match at the Fischer County ground.

Leicestershire’s decision was based on the overhead conditions, rather than the pale, hard, re-laid pitch, and it quickly looked to have backfired on them as Mitchell and Tom Fell put together a stand of 59 for the first wicket.

The ball did swing but the pitch played well and it was something of a surprise when Will Davis beat Fell’s defence with a delivery that came back to hit the top of middle stump.

Ben Mike then picked up the wicket of Brett D’Oliveira for a two-ball duck with Colin Ackermann taking a sharp, low catch to his left after the batsman edged an out-swinger.

Leicestershire might have felt the balance of the morning’s play had swung their way after they were convinced Hamish Rutherford had edged a catch behind off Tom Taylor when on 15.

The appeal was turned down, however, and with the clouds having cleared the New Zealand international, making his championship debut for Worcestershire, began to play with increasing assurance, reaching his half-century shortly before tea.

Mitchell too looked in prime form, taking full advantage of some loose bowling from the change Leicestershire seamers.

The experienced opener accelerated as he approached his century which came off 169 balls and included 16 fours.

By tea his third-wicket partnership with Rutherford was worth 166 but that was the extent of it.

From the third ball after tea an off-spinner delivered around the wicket by Colin Ackermann found the edge of Mitchell's bat before being caught by Paul Horton at first slip.

Rikki Wessels, like Rutherford making his first-class debut for Worcestershire, hit 43 before being given out lbw on the back foot to Chris Wright but Rutherford continued calmly on his way, reaching his century off 182 balls.

The New Zealander enjoyed some good fortune against the second new ball, especially against the bowling of Tom Taylor who moved the ball away from the left-hander off the pitch, but he remained unbeaten on 116 at the close.