CHARLIE Morris returned his career best figures for Worcestershire to lead a second day fightback against Leicestershire in the LV= County Championship clash at Grace Road.
Morris returned figures of 4-76 from 22.2 overs as Leicestershire were bowled out for 278 and restricted to a first innings advantage of 41.
Worcestershire quickly lost the wicket of opener Matt Pardoe in reply as they reached 76-1 by the close to take a slender lead of 35 runs into tomorrow's play.
Morris surpassed his previous best figures of 3-31 against Kent at New Road and took his Championship wicket tally to 25 for the campaign in the process.
Morris, who recently signed a new three and-a-half year contract, was well supported by fellow pacemen Jack Shantry (3-66) and Joe Leach (2-56).
Their efforts enabled Worcestershire to maintain their 100 per cent record in securing maximum bowling points from all nine Championship matches in 2014.
Leicestershire, who are without a Championship win since 2012, were well placed at 162-3 but lost their last seven wickets for 116 runs.
The home side resumed on 58-2 and lost their third wicket without addition to the score when a delivery from Shantry jagged back and trapped Greg Smith (22) lbw.
But then skipper Ramnaresh Sarwan and Josh Cobb dug in and denied Worcestershire any further breakthroughs before lunch.
Cobb was the more aggressive and his innings was a mixture of some fine attacking shots and edges through or over the slips.
Leicestershire started the afternoon session on 156-3 but the stand of 104 was broken with only six runs added when Cobb (63) edged a wide delivery from Shantry to Tom Fell at third slip.
Sarwan batted nearly three hours for his 46 but departed when he hooked at a good bouncer from Morris and perished to a good catch by Pardoe at long leg.
Worcestershire encountered further resistance from Niall O’Brien and Championship debutant Dan Redfern during a stand of 56.
But Leach removed them both in successive overs with Redfern (21) falling to a sharp catch by Daryl Mitchell at second slip and O’Brien (29) nicking through to keeper Ben Cox.
Mitchell also held onto an edge from former Worcestershire player Richard Jones (3) off spinner Saeed Ajmal.
The Cox-Morris combination also accounted for Ben Raine (7) to leave Leicestershire on 240-9 – just three runs ahead.
That lead was stretched to 41 by Nathan Buck and Charlie Shreck before the Cox-Morris partnership again came to the fore to remove the latter for 19.
Worcestershire started their second innings after a late tea and Pardoe (7) edged a ball of extra bounce from Buck to Smith in the slip cordon with 18 on the board.
Captain Mitchell (44 not out) and Fell (24no) took the total past the 50 mark in the 19th over and the County closed on 76-1.