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County end on a high
5:42pm Thursday 26th September 2013 in Sport
WORCESTERSHIRE interrupted Northamptonshire’s celebrations at New Road by becoming only the second team to beat the newly installed Division Two runners-up in the LV= County Championship this season.
Spinners on both sides were responsible for the quick wrap-up on a sluggish pitch that began the match helping the seamers and ended with the ball turning.
The turgid nature of the surface, as well as variation in bounce, contributed to 18 leg-before dismissals, equalling the all-time record in the County Championship.
James Middlebrook and Matt Spriegel took seven wickets between them in dismissing Worcestershire for 295 and when Northamptonshire were set a target of 257 in a day-and-a-half, they were picked off for 141 in less than three hours for a 115-run win.
Moeen Ali’s return of 6-77 gave him 28 wickets to add to his 1,375 championship runs in an outstanding season. Shaaiq Choudhry played the supporting role with 3-28.
The most productive batting came from Worcestershire’s middle-order. Ross Whiteley (56) scored his first half-century since moving from Derbyshire in July and there were more than enough runs in the bank after further flashes of potential from Tom Fell (40) and Ben Cox (34 not out).
Alan Richardson claimed his 69th Championship wicket of the season when James Middlebrook was caught behind in the third over.
Then it was over to Moeen. Having accounted for two top-order players, David Sales edging to slip and Stephen Peters joining the list of lbws, he whipped out Spriegel and Steven Crook in three balls before going head-to-head with David Willey.
The big-hitting all-rounder won the early joust with three sixes in crashing 26 from 14 deliveries but Moeen emphatically won the battle with a ball that turned sharply and hit the top of the off-stump.
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