ALL-rounder Ed Barnard again impressed with the ball as Worcestershire enjoyed a successful opening day of the Specsavers County Championship Division Two promotion clash with leaders Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.

Barnard ripped out Jake Libby, Cheteshwar Pujara, Samit Patel and Riki Wessels during the afternoon session as Notts slipped from 79-1 to 188-9 before rain halted proceedings shortly before 5pm.

It continued the fine form he had shown against Gloucestershire when he returned career-best figures of 4-23.

Skipper Joe Leach and Josh Tongue also picked up two wickets apiece as Worcestershire secured maximum bowling points in just 47.5 overs.

Play did not get under way until 1pm and Leach exercised the right to bowl first.

Leach made the first breakthrough as he squared up Steve Mullaney (7) with a delivery which hit the top of off-stump.

Libby and Pujara scored freely either side of two brief rain delays before Barnard sent the wickets tumbling.

He ended a stand of 69 in 17 overs between Libby (34) and Pujara when the former nicked through to Cox who did not hold the chance but Daryl Mitchell made no mistake at second slip.

Barnard (4-66) struck again in the same over and again found the edge as Pujara (28) was safely pouched by Cox.

Cox then excelled with a superb one-handed catch low to his right after Patel (14) was undone by Barnard.

The former England under 19 player then bowled Wessels for a duck.

Tongue got in on the wicket-taking act as Alex Hales (28) fell victim to a shoulder-high catch by Mitchell at second slip.

Chris Read, in his final match at Trent Bridge before retiring, survived one chance on eight off Tongue.

But the paceman picked up Read’s wicket when after making 26 he perished to a sharp return catch at 171-7.

With dark skies closing in Worcestershire made two more breakthroughs.

Brendon Taylor (33) was lbw to Leach after shuffling across his stumps and then the next delivery accounted for Brett Hutton (4).

New batsman Jake Ball called Hutton through for a single after playing the ball to backward point but he was run out by Barnard’s direct hit when well out of his ground.

Within minutes heavy rain engulfed the ground.