Northants ease to comfortable total
Northamptonshire 385 for 9 dec v Worcestershire
Former Bangladesh captain Shakib Al Hasan took three wickets for Worcestershire on the third day of their County Championship match against Northamptonshire at Wantage Road.
Stephen Peters, Rob Newton and Northants captain Andrew Hall all made half-centuries for the home side, who batted through the day in posting 385 for 9 declared at the close, with the game surely destined to be drawn.
Peters top-scored with 75, with Shakib taking 3 for 75 and Alan Richardson claiming overall figures of four for 83 with an anti-climactic final day seemingly on the way tomorrow. After two days ruined by rain, Northants resumed their first innings on 96 for three, with opener Peters on 38 and youngster Newton yet to score.
Peters went on to complete a patient half-century off 123 balls as the home side made a confident start. 20-year-old Newton reached his 50 in a more explosive fashion, smashing it off 59 balls including one superb six pulled over mid-wicket off Richardson.
He added six more to his tally before his aggression proved to be his undoing when he launched Gareth Andrew to Richardson at deep square leg to end a fourth-wicket stand of 80 with Peters. Peters made it to 75 before being pinned lbw by Shakib in the last over before lunch. Richardson, who took two wickets on the first day, then dismissed Zimbabwe's Elton Chigumbura (nine) when the seamer forced him to edge to Worcestershire wicketkeeper Ben Cox in the third over after the second new ball was taken.
Hall then became the third batsman to make a half-century for the hosts when he clouted his 129th ball, delivered by Jack Shantry, behind square leg for four. He and James Middlebrook survived until tea, with the pair completing a 50 partnership in the first over of the evening session.
Hall had reached 65 before he feathered a Shakib delivery to Cox in the following over before Middlebrook, who had made a competent 40, saw his leg stump taken out by the same bowler. However, the ninth-wicket pairing of Northants wicketkeeper David Murphy and Jack Brooks made the visitors attack toil after that in producing a 50 stand of their own.
Richardson ended their entertaining partnership of 68 when he comprehensively bowled Brooks, who had blasted 34 off 46 balls. Murphy stayed put for the rest of the day and finished on 36 not out, with Lee Daggett unbeaten on six at the other end as the hosts declared.