Worcestershire edge wicket-filled day
Worcestershire 287 and 72 for 8 v Northamptonshire 158
Worcestershire seamers Matt Mason and Alan Richardson dismissed Northamptonshire for their lowest County Championship total of the season as 17 wickets fell on the second day at New Road.
The experienced pair - Mason at 36 and Richardson a year younger - made the most of favourable conditions in claiming six of the dismissals at a miserly cost of 62 runs in 40.4 overs. Worcestershire's batsmen then took their turn to struggle on a seaming pitch when crashing to 72 for 8 - a lead of 201 - after Lee Daggett's lively opening salvo of 4 for 25 in 10 overs.
Northamptonshire only dodged the follow-on thanks to a couple of dropped chances when David Murphy (26) and David Lucas (24) put on 43 before Richardson accounted for the tail-end pair in six balls.
Finally bowled out for 158, the visitors were still in a tight corner, trailing by 129, but Daggett kept them in the game with his best performance in two seasons for his third county. The former Warwickshire and Leicestershire bowler landed a double blow in the space of nine deliveries. First he removed Daryl Mitchell, brilliantly caught by James Middlebrook at backward point, and next he had Vikram Solanki taken at second slip by Stephen Peters.
With David Wheeldon and Moeen Ali also falling in an inspired spell, Worcestershire were rocking at 43 for 5 when Shakib Al Hasan played on to Lucas.Alexei Kervezee (24) fell to Andrew Hall and with the light fading prior to an early closure because of rain off-spinner Middlebrook played an influential part with 2 for 11. There was an extra problem for the batsmen as the bounce became steeper on the unpredictable surface.
Resuming at three for one, Northamptonshire lost Middlebrook to a catch behind the wicket in a testing opening spell by Mason and the pressure built up as Richardson's figures showed only three scoring shots after 11 overs. Ben Howgego succumbed when Richard Jones ran out the opener from mid-on and Mason found some extra lift when David Sales registered his fourth duck in six Championship innings.
Alex Wakely (20) and Rob Newton, with a promising knock of 23 on his debut, steadied the ship for a while before medium-pacer James Cameron bagged the first two wickets of his four-match Championship career. Elton Chigumbura quickly fell to another rising delivery from Mason and Northamptonshire's last hope appeared to have gone when Richardson pounced from short mid-wicket to run out Hall for 28.
Murphy atoned for his part in going for a dodgy single with four fours and the follow-on threat disappeared in an erratic over from Jones. Shakib dropped Lucas at point and the next four balls went to the boundary - three of these off the pads for a dozen leg byes.