Worcestershire v Hampshire, New Road, 3rd day

Hampshire follow on after Ajmal seven

Vithushan Ehantharajah at New Road

June 10, 2014

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Hampshire 219 (Smith 67, Ajmal 7-63) and 31 for 1 trail Worcestershire 402 for 9 dec by 152 runs

Saeed Ajmal claimed match figures of 13 for 94, Worcestershire v Essex, County Championship, Division Two, 3rd day, May 20, 2014
Saeed Ajmal took his second consecutive seven-wicket haul at New Road © Getty Images

With the interruptions over the last three days, that a positive result remains possible speaks of something special. Worcestershire lead by 152 runs, needing nine Hampshire wickets to secure an innings victory over their Division Two rivals. Saeed Ajmal, with eight wickets in the day, including a first-innings seven-for, was that something special.

Ajmal's last Championship performance at New Road was better - a personal best of 7 for 19 in the second innings against Essex. The eight he has taken so far in this match took him past 50 Championship wickets for Worcestershire in nine matches, three of which came in the 2011 season.

However, it would not be too bold a claim to say Ajmal did not bowl that well here. Hampshire's top five had not only negotiated his smart changes in length and pace, but had also given him a bit back: punishing him for over or under-pitching. James Vince and Glenn Maxwell in particular had come out after lunch in the mood for runs, taking 29 off Ajmal's first four overs of the middle session. Normal service resumed in the fifth, with a double-wicket maiden accounting for Maxwell and Sean Ervine.

There was an inevitability to it all, especially with the relative ease at which Jimmy Adams and Will Smith played Jack Shantry, Charles Morris and Joe Leach. The pitch did not offer much assistance, with little movement through the air and even less off what looked a tired surface.

No risks were taken but Smith moved along his score with a series of well-timed and placed boundaries. Adams took more time to get going, but he responded with a handful of his own, as the duo reached their century partnership in the 26th over of the day.

Steven Rhodes on Saeed Ajmal

  • Working with Ajmal
  • "He's great fun. He plays with a smile on his face and he's a very determined character to make sure others play with a smile on their faces. He's also been very open to teaching people his tricks and you can see that bowling the many deliveries he's got gives him a lot of pleasure."
  • Getting him back for the final straight
  • "Ajmal leaves on July 17 and around about the seventh is when Mitchell McClenaghan arrives, which is perfect as it will give him time to acclimatise. We're ongoing with our communications with the Pakistan Cricket Board to see if we can get him to comeback after their tour of Sri Lanka [the final match is on August 30]. Mitchell is on standby to carry on for us if we cannot get hold of Ajmal so we're in a luxurious position of having all bases covered."
  • Prospects for a result against Hampshire
  • "If the weather is like the forecast, it should be a terrific day. We can't get too ahead of ourselves; we have a huge mountain to climb in taking nine wickets and then potentially knocking off whatever runs they have if they do go past."

Adams was the first to fall, attempting to sweep the sixth ball he had faced off Ajmal, when the straight bat approach was doing fine. Then, on the stroke of lunch, Smith, having survived a sharp chance at bat-pad, allowed a quicker, straighter delivery to rush on to his stumps, failing to swat the ball away with a horizontal bat.

After lunch, Vince and Maxwell looked to eat up the deficit with some strokes that tested the acoustics of New Road; the ball making a satisfying donk off both bats as they put on 48 in nine overs. The demise of Maxwell - Ajmal's 50th Championship scalp for Worcestershire - and then Ervine, attempting a paddle sweep and bowled through the gate respectively, stemmed the run flow.

It was the demise of Vince that will have rankled with the visitors most. Offered a short ball by Leach, he found the hands of Matt Pardoe at deep midwicket, who just had to set himself to take the catch. While it would be easy to say Vince could have done without playing the shot, in truth, he should probably have helped it over the rope for six.

His was the first of the last five wickets to fall for only 29 runs in 58 balls. Matt Coles looked the unluckiest of the lot, given out lbw despite putting in a decent stride.

The end of Hampshire's first innings led into tea, at which points the rains came and meant they faced 14 overs in their follow-on innings. Still, Ajmal had enough time to remove Adams for a second time, in similar fashion to his first dismissal. The forecast for Wednesday is good and one imagines Ajmal will be working away at one end throughout.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by android_user on (June 11, 2014, 14:36 GMT)

Ajmal, Our hero !

Posted by CricStaah on (June 11, 2014, 9:15 GMT)

top bloke best spinner in the world

Posted by   on (June 11, 2014, 6:42 GMT)

Worcs did very well at the start of the season without bent arm boy, but might struggle when he leaves and Mo is playing for England. Choudhry has yet to prove himself - let's hope for Worcestershire's sake Ajmal can give him some help. The progress of the younger Worcs. players such as Cox and Leach is hugely encouraging - Pardoe need more consistency, though. Mitchell's leading from the front!

Posted by CodandChips on (June 11, 2014, 6:41 GMT)

@Anita Bryant I agree that resting Abbott seems very strange.

Briggs got 0 wickets on the same pitch that Ajmal got 7. Shows the difference in class of the bowlers and probably reveals batting issues. Fair play to Ajmal as from the pictures I saw the pitch looked very green.

Worcestershire would have probably been top before this game had they had less rain so them probably beating us is fair enough.

Posted by android_user on (June 10, 2014, 20:05 GMT)

Awesome ajmal Lovely character

Posted by   on (June 10, 2014, 19:24 GMT)

We'll I never it can only happen at Hampshire-for once we get ourselves a decent overseas player( Kyle Abbott) we play away to our nearest rivals and what do we do?? Yes we rest him-unbelievable!! But I guess messes White and Benkenstein know what they,re doing and whilst I,m moaning can any one honestly tell me what Glen Maxwell brings to a 4day team??.

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