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John Ward at Worcester
July 20, 2008
Worcestershire 457 for 8 dec and 102 for 0 (Moore 58*, Mitchell 44*) beat Glamorgan 279 (Imran 5-50) and 279 (Ali 6-58)
In mid-afternoon, after some determined resistance from the doomed Glamorgan, Worcestershire completed their third championship victory of the season and moved to second place in Division Two of the championship. They owed much to their dynamic quartet of seam bowlers, who bowled with admirable skill and persistence on what remained to the end a sound batting wicket.
Glamorgan began the day with 189 for 7 following on, just 11 runs ahead. Perhaps local supporters doubted their team's ability to finish off the match quickly, or else they were desperate to ensure that victory was completed, because several hundred of them turned up for play that might well have been over within half an hour. But the overnight pair of James Harris and Jason Gillespie continued their stubborn defiance of Worcestershire's impressive pace attack, and soon took the score past 200. Despite a couple of frenzied appeals, they rarely looked in trouble, and every now and then played a handsome drive that reached the boundary.
It took almost an hour before the first wicket fell, as Harris groped outside the off stump to a rather wide ball from Mason and was given out caught behind for a very creditable 43. The pair had added 79 for the eighth wicket and successfully avoided the innings defeat. Still the visitors refused to roll over, and it was not until Kabir Ali took the new ball that he was able to break through the defences of David Harrison (7) and remove his off stump.
Finally the last man Dean Cosker hung around for a while, until he was caught at the wicket for 8, off Kabir again. Gillespie was left stranded on 49, the highest score of the innings, off 91 balls, an admirable mixture of steadiness and well-judged strokes, most notably a powerful off-drive to the boundary off Kabir with the new ball. For once, the new star Imran Arif had failed to feature, but Kabir stepped in with six wickets, a fine performance that had locals calling for a recall to England colours.
By a curious coincidence, not only did both Glamorgan innings total 279, but in both the seventh wicket had fallen at 165. The last three wickets had thus added 114 runs each time, rather an indictment of the top order, especially those who had reached double figures (in nine instances out of twelve in the two innings), yet failed to go on to a major score. Worcestershire needed 102 to win.
It had taken the home side 93 minutes to wrap up the innings, and they thus had an awkward period to survive before lunch. Daryl Mitchell and Steven Moore did so solidly while adding eight runs, but even after the break they left nothing to chance and took a while to get going. In the tenth over Moore twice pulled Gillespie for four and then cut him for another, and they were away.
Moore at 37 was dropped at slip off Harris, while Mitchell on 27 lofted a drive that just cleared mid-off, but the end result was never in doubt. Glamorgan just did not have the bowling firepower to upset Worcestershire. Moore reached his fifty with a big six over long-on, over the new stand at the Diglis End, off Cosker; it took him 75 balls.
Shortly afterwards, Mitchell cut Alex Wharf for four to win the match by ten wickets - except that, as they had completed a single before the ball went over the boundary, under the dubious new law he was only credited with one. He finished on 44 to Moore's 58. Unusually, there was not a single extra conceded in this innings, a small but definite credit to Glamorgan.
The emergence of Imran has caused some excitement at Worcester. With Imran to add to their already impressive international pace attack - imported though it may be - of Kabir, Jones and Mason, they now boast a line-up stronger than many Division One teams this season. Their ambitions and expectations are high, and they confidently expect to return to the top league next season.
A last note on Imran: Worcestershire's chief executive Mark Newton announced that he has today signed a contract with the county for 2009 and 2010, conditional to his obtaining a British passport, which he believes to be imminent.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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