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September 10, 2010
Worcestershire 313 and 256 beat Middlesex 392 and 66 by 111 runs
The Bangladesh allrounder Shakib Al Hasan took a career-best 7 for 32 to send woeful Middlesex spinning to a remarkable 111-run defeat at Lord's and keep Worcestershire firmly in the County Championship Division Two promotion race. Middlesex, set 178 to win when Worcestershire were bowled out after an hour's play on the final morning for 256 in their second innings, crumbled to 66 all out in 31.1 overs.
Shakib took three wickets in an over at one stage, and the turn he got from the wearing surface was just too much for the Middlesex batsmen. Only the first-innings centurion Owais Shah, with 25 in his final innings for the county, seemed to have any idea of how to flourish against Shakib's left-arm spin - until, that is, he holed out to mid-on.
Gareth Berg was then caught at slip two balls later, pushing forward, and the last ball of Shakib's sixth over saw Tim Murtagh slice a wildly optimistic drive to point. That burst left Middlesex reeling at 54 for 7, but they had already been in deep trouble. Alan Richardson, playing against the county he left at the end of last season, had struck twice with the new ball while Shakib had removed Dawid Malan just before lunch and Dan Housego just after the interval.
Richardson had John Simpson lbw for a first-ball duck during his opening over, before angling one across Scott Newman to have the left-hander caught low down at second slip by Daryl Mitchell in his fifth over. Malan, having scored the single which completed his 1,000 first-class runs for the season, fell for 2 when he moved across his crease and had his leg stump clipped as he missed an attempted flick off his pads.
Housego was lbw on the back foot as he tried to defend against Shakib, and Shah's rush of blood - which produced a simple catch to Jack Shantry - merely hastened the end as the Middlesex lower order surrendered with barely a whimper.
Toby Roland-Jones was lbw to Shakib, going back to a well-flighted ball when he should have been forward, and Neil Dexter - the home side's last hope - was brilliantly caught for 21 by Vikram Solanki at backward short leg off Moeen Ali's off-breaks. Fittingly, Shakib picked up the final wicket when Steven Finn attempted a mow to leg but succeeded only in skying a catch to wicketkeeper Ben Cox.
The day had begun with Worcestershire just 116 ahead on 195 for 7 in their second innings and when Moeen fell for 81 - having added just 10 to his overnight score - and Shantry quickly followed for a duck, caught at the wicket off Pedro Collins, it seemed as if the match was going Middlesex's way.
But Gareth Andrew more than doubled his overnight 34 by going to 73 with some cleanly-struck blows and Richardson hung around to help him add an important 34 for the last wicket.
Yet the victory target still seemed well within Middlesex's reach - until Shakib began to weave his web of destruction. Worcestershire are now at home to Sussex in next week's final round of Championship matches, and could yet pip Glamorgan for the second promotion place.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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