A LATE clatter of wickets undermined the hard work Moeen Ali had put in to give Worcestershire a hope of achieving first innings parity with Sussex.

Moeen extended his recent run of impressive scores by combining belligerence with his trademark attractive stroke-making in a fine 85, while Matt Pardoe provided stoical support as they put on 96 for the fifth wicket.

In reply to Sussex’s 315 all out, Worcestershire had reached 206-4 with just 10 overs remaining, but the new ball did the damage as they lost 3-25 to close day two of the LV= County Championship clash on 231-7, a deficit of 84.

Worcestershire’s openers took a circumspect approach to their reply, with wicket-preservation holding sway ahead of run-scoring.

However, having faced 58 balls for his 17 runs, captain Daryl Mitchell was the first to perish when he was lbw to Anyon in the 17th over, but the umpire was hesitant in his decision with a suggestion the ball was missing leg stump.

Overseas batsman Michael Klinger, in the final match of his short stint with the club, continued his trait of getting a start, before giving his wicket away.

The South Australia captain, having progressed to 15 off 64 balls, drove half-heartedly at compatriot and former Worcestershire player Steve Magoffin (2-28 off 22 overs), but only succeeded in steering the ball into the grateful hands of Michael Yardy at first slip.

With Vikram Solanki and Moeen at the crease, the hosts’ run-rate began to creep up, before the former captain fell to England spinner Monty Panesar.

It had been a typically-elegant innings from Solanki, who hit five fours in his 34, but he advanced down the track to attack Panesar, only succeeded in yorking himself and saw his middle stump rocked back.

Looking to stamp his authority, new man James Cameron removed a tile from the roof of the New Road Stand with a huge six from the third ball he faced, but Panesar soon had his revenge when the left-hander pushed forward and was caught by Chris Nash at short-leg for 13 to make it 110-4.

But with Pardoe joining Moeen in the middle, they grafted hard and brought Worcestershire back into the contest.

However, Naveed Arif Gondal won an lbw decision against Moeen and produced a good one as Pardoe (28) nicked through to Ben Brown.

Meanwhile, Gareth Andrew was lbw to the impressive Magoffin for 10 to ensure Sussex claimed the upper hand on an intriguing day.