Leicestershire v Worcestershire: Saeed Ajmal spins Foxes to defeat

Worcestershire spinner Saeed Ajmal celebrates a wicket
Ajmal's 6-19 came off 14 overs, half of which were maidens
LV= County Championship Division Two, Grace Road
Worcestershire 237 & 444-8 dec beat Leicestershire 278 & 169 by 234 runs
Worcestershire 20pts, Leicestershire 5pts
Match scorecard

Saeed Ajmal claimed a fourth six-wicket haul in five Championship matches as promotion-chasing Worcestershire wrapped up victory over Division Two bottom club Leicestershire.

Ajmal took 6-19 as Leicestershire collapsed from 50-0 to be bowled out for 169, losing by 234 runs.

Seamers Charlie Morris, Jack Shantry and Joe Leach made the breakthrough.

But, from 145-4, Ajmal ripped through the tail as the last six wickets fell for just 24 runs.

Dan Redfern top scored with 39 to follow the efforts of overnight pair Greg Smith (30) and Angus Robson (28).

But, 27 from Niall O'Brien apart, the rest of the Leicestershire batting had no answer to the Pakistan Test off-spinner's sheer variety of attacking weapons.

Ajmal took his season's haul of wickets to 44 in just seven matches for Worcestershire, but it was not enough to win top spot back for Steve Rhodes' side.

The extra batting point picked up by Hampshire when they completed their own huge 470-run victory over Essex on Tuesday kept them top by a single point, but second-placed Worcestershire are 41 points clear of third-placed Surrey.

Leicestershire, twice county champions in the 1990s, are now six points adrift at the bottom at their halfway mark, having not won in eight matches this season.

BBC Radio Leicester's Richard Rae:

"A pattern, once established, can be hard to break, and once again Leicestershire subsided to a miserably heavy defeat after being competitive throughout the first half of the match.

"They were unfortunate in some respects with some of the earlier dismissals, Angus Robson and Ned Eckersley both unable to keep out deliveries that kept markedly low, but once the Worcestershire seamers had taken the first four wickets, the Leicestershire middle and lower order did not have a clue how to cope with the brilliant variations of Saeed Ajmal.

"The question for the Foxes is how on earth they are going to conjure up the win that will give them the knowledge they are capable of competing on all four days of a Championship match.

"A lot of supporters are venting their ire and disappointment on captain and overseas player Ronnie Sarwan, and it is typical of the West Indian's luck right now that he should have suffered a back spasm that rendered him almost incapable of holding a bat in the second innings."

BBC Hereford & Worcester's Dave Bradley:

"Not for the first time this season, the lower-order batsmen could not cope with the wiles of Saeed Ajmal. How Worcestershire must wish he was here for the whole of the summer.

"Their plan worked perfectly, with Joe Leach, Charlie Morris and Jack Shantry doing the early damage before the spinner came on.

"This looks like a comprehensive win, and in the end it was, but, having to bat first in bowler-friendly conditions, and facing a first innings deficit, Worcestershire had to work really hard for success.

"A maiden century for Tom Fell and a first half-century for Tom Kohler-Cadmore bode well for the future, and the return to form of Alexei Kervezee is another plus."