ALL-ROUNDER Ed Barnard felt the overcast conditions at Blackfinch New Road played into the Lancashire bowlers’ hands after Worcestershire were skittled for just 98 on a sorry first day.

Barnard offered the most resistance with a defiant 32 as the hosts were dismissed by Lancashire for the second lowest total in the Specsavers County Championship this summer.

Only Nottinghamshire, with 97 against Warwickshire at Edgbaston last week, had been bowled out for a lower total during 2019.

Experienced international duo Jimmy Anderson and Graham Onions wreaked havoc as they claimed 4-24 and 4-55 respectively in dismissing Worcestershire in just 38.1 overs.

The heavens opened shortly after the players left the field shortly after 2.30pm and the match was called off for the day at 4.35pm.

“It was a really disappointing day,” said Barnard who was promoted to number six.

“Obviously they were tough conditions when you get stuck in on a fresh pitch and, with it being overcast as well, it wasn’t ideal to bat.

“They have got some high-class bowlers in their attack and they bowled really well.

“They utilised the conditions but I still think we could have possibly gone on and stuck in a bit more and got a bigger score.

“It was nice for myself to spend some time in the middle.

“I haven’t spent much time in the middle recently and getting the chance to bat a little bit higher was nice as well.

“It wasn’t an easy wicket to bat on and the overcast weather played nicely into their hands.

“We will have to try and do what they have done, put the ball in the right areas and hope it moves as much as it has for them.

“The weather forecast is not good for the next couple of days but we will just have to make sure we are ready whenever we do get out there to try and get those early wickets and put them under pressure.”

Worcestershire had rejigged their batting line-up with Tom Fell and George Rhodes left out of the side and Josh Dell brought back to open the innings.

Lancashire opted to bowl and Onions and Anderson were soon amongst the wickets.

Onions was first to strike as opener Daryl Mitchell (4) nicked an away swinger through to keeper and skipper Dane Vilas and then Callum Ferguson (1) was trapped lbw by the former England paceman.

Riki Wessels (3) also went leg before to Anderson and it became 24-4 when Ross Whiteley (1) tried to work the same bowler through mid-wicket and was caught off a leading edge by Haseeb Hameed at cover point.

Dell, who hit 61 on his Championship debut versus Durham, battled away to make 18 in 18 overs in the opening role but shouldered arms to Mahmood and was bowled.

Barnard brought up the Worcestershire fifty with a cover drive for four of Onions in the 20th over.

But it became 57-6 when red ball vice-captain Ben Cox (2) went for a drive and was caught behind off Mahmood.

The procession of wickets continued in the afternoon session.

Fit-again Wayne Parnell (5) drove at Onions and was bowled and club captain Joe Leach (18) aimed to work the ball on the leg side and suffered the same fate.

Anderson wrapped up proceedings as Charlie Morris (1) and Barnard were both safely pouched by Vilas – the latter after attempting a ramp shot.

But there was no chance for Lancashire to launch their reply before rain intervened.

Onions said: “It has been a fantastic day to get them out for less than 100.

“There was a little bit of debate on what to do with regards to the toss but as far as putting them in and getting the rewards, we couldn’t have asked for a better day.

“A fresh Jimmy Anderson coming into the side is always going to give anyone a boost really and we’ve been very lucky and privileged to have him in our side.”