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Saeed Ajmal spins Worcestershire to big victory at Leicestershire
6:16pm Wednesday 18th June 2014 in Sport
A DEVASTATING post-lunch spell of six wickets in six overs by spin star Saeed Ajmal powered Worcestershire to a 234-run victory over Leicestershire in the LV= County Championship clash at Grace Road.
The Worcestershire pace bowlers had laid the foundations in the morning session with four wickets as Leicestershire reached 136-4 at the interval in pursuit of a 404 target.
But then Saeed took centre stage with a sensational burst of 6-13 from 36 balls to take his wicket tally to 44 from seven matches.
A fourth victory of the season for unbeaten Worcestershire keeps them firmly established in the Division Two top two and on course for promotion.
It was a fine effort after losing the toss and having to bat first on a green wicket with most of the batsmen making sizeable contributions and breakthrough knocks from Tom Fell with his first century for the county and Tom Kohler-Cadmore his first Championship half-century.
The pace bowlers also ensured Worcestershire maintained their 100 per cent record in terms of maximum bowling points from all nine games, before Saeed showed his class on the final afternoon.
Leicestershire resumed on 20-0 and there was an early flurry of boundaries from Greg Smith and Angus Robson against attacking fields as the 50 came up in the 12th over.
But then the Worcestershire bowlers started to make inroads into the home batting line-up.
Charlie Morris, who returned career-best figures of 4-76 in the first innings, made the initial breakthrough when Robson (28) was bowled via the inside edge.
Jack Shantry had several lbw shouts turned down by umpire Nigel Llong but he raised the finger when Smith (30) played across the line.
Leicestershire skipper Ramnaresh Sarwan did not come out to bat in his accustomed number four position because of a back injury.
Worcestershire thought they had dismissed Ned Eckersley when he edged a delivery from Joe Leach to Kohler-Cadmore at first slip.
But Eckersley stood his ground, believing the ball had not carried, and continued his innings after the two umpires had consulted.
Shantry claimed his second lbw victim of the morning - and his 32nd Championship success of the season - when Eckersley, on 18, walked across his stumps.
It became 98-4 when Joss Cobb (2) tried to leave a delivery from Leach and the ball hit his body and dropped down onto the stumps.
At that juncture, Worcestershire skipper Daryl Mitchell introduced Saeed into the attack in place of Shantry, who had figures of 2-36 from 13 overs.
Morris returned for a second spell before lunch which Leicestershire reached without any further setbacks at 136-4 from 38 overs.
But then Saeed took command and enjoyed his first success of the innings in the third over after the interval when O'Brien (27) fell to an excellent low slip catch by skipper Mitchell away to his left.
Saeed then uprooted the leg stump of Dan Redfern (39) and three balls later Sarwan, who was accompanied by a runner, was snapped up at short leg by Matt Pardoe for a duck.
It became four wickets in four overs for Saeed when Ben Raine (11) went for a slog sweep and top-edged a catch to Ben Cox.
Richard Jones (6) also perished to the Pardoe-Saeed combination and the match ended when Charlie Shreck (0) was adjudged lbw.