Brilliant Ojha spins Surrey to win
Surrey 269 and 410 for 6 dec beat Northamptonshire 194 and 152 by 333 runs
A brilliant spell from left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha helped Surrey wrap up a comprehensive 333-run victory on the final morning against Division Two promotion rivals Northamptonshire. India international Ojha provided a masterclass from the Wantage Road End, recording outstanding second-innings figures of six wickets for just eight runs from his 16.3 overs, which included 10 maidens.
This result, the heaviest in Division Two this season, throws the race for promotion wide open with Surrey and Middlesex - who went to the top of the table on Friday - both with two games still to play. Northamptonshire, meanwhile, are likely to need a victory from their final game at home against Gloucestershire starting on September 12 which, if results elsewhere go against them, still might not be good enough.
Northants resumed this morning on 103 for 4, facing a tall order in order to save the game, with captain Andrew Hall (2) and nightwatchman Lee Daggett (4) at the crease. Hall survived a strong lbw shout in the sixth over of the morning off Ojha, who had already taken the key wickets of Alex Wakely and David Sales just before the close last night.
Northants had added 12 to their overnight total when, in the very next over, Hall was out attempting a pull shot which he mistimed off Stuart Meaker's delivery, and was caught behind by wicketkeeper Steven Davies for 13. Meaker was then almost celebrating another wicket when he found the edge of Daggett's bat, but the ball flew between second and third slip and away to the boundary for four.
Ojha soon had his third - and Surrey's sixth - wicket of the innings in the eighth over and was handed it on a plate by Niall O'Brien - out for a pair, attempting to sweep, but only diverting it into the hands of Gareth Batty at short leg with the score on 119. The hosts struggled along on to 138 before Ojha claimed his fourth victim, bowling Daggett for 16.
With the score on 149 for 7, Ojha then completed his five-for by dismissing James Middlebrook, with substitute fielder Zafar Ansari - on for the injured Tom Maynard - taking the catch at silly point for 12. With Stephen Peters still unable to bat due to a back injury, the ninth and final Northamptonshire wicket fell with the score on 152, Ojha bagging his sixth victim when trapping David Burton lbw for two.
Surrey pocketed 21 points, with Northants just three.