sport

Leicestershire undone by Ajmal

Saeed Ajmal took six wickets for 13 runs in a magical 36-ball spell to give Worcestershire a 234-run victory over Leicestershire on the final day of their LV= County Championship Division Two game at Grace Road.

The home batsmen had no answer to the mystery spin of the Pakistan star and crashed from 145 for four to 169 all out.

It was Worcestershire's fourth win of the season and Leicestershire's fourth successive home defeat. Worcestershire are now second in the table one point behind Hampshire, while Leicestershire have not won a Championship game since September 2012.

Even so the manner of their collapse in this game was extraordinary. Set a victory target of 404 they began the day on 20 without loss and took 19 runs off the first two overs from Jack Shantry and Charles Morris.

The first nine overs of the day produced 50 runs and a flurry of boundaries, and it began to look as though Leicestershire might make a decent fist of it.

But Angus Robson chopped a ball from Morris on to his stumps, Greg Smith and Ned Eckersley were both lbw to Shantry playing across the line and Josh Cobb was bowled by Joe Leach to leave Leicestershire at 98 for four.

All that was left for them then was a battle for survival. A partnership of 47 runs between Dan Redfern and Niall O'Brien suggested they could stretch the game out - but then Ajmal took centre stage.

He had hardly been in the game for three and half days, claiming just one wicket for 46 runs in Leicestershire's first innings. But a fourth-day pitch that was at last offering some assistance, was right up his street.

He had taken a career best seven for 19 against Essex earlier in the season and almost matched it again. In less than hour after lunch he picked up the last six wickets to leave Leicestershire in a spin.

O'Brien edged to slip, Redfern was bowled leg stump, Ramnaresh Sarwan and Richard Jones were both caught off bat and pad, Ben Raine top-edged a slog sweep and Charlie Shreck was trapped lbw.

Ajmal finished with six for 19 to take his wicket-haul for Worcestershire to 44 in seven Championship games.

They will miss him when he joins up with Pakistan for a tour of Sri Lanka in August.

Steve Rhodes, Worcestershire director of cricket, said: "The plan is always to try and take a few wickets with our seam attack to provide a platform for Ajmal. In these sort of conditions he can be devastating."

Ben Smith, Leicestershire's senior coach, said: "Ajmal's spell was brilliant and blew us away. But we would not have been in that position if we had taken a 150-run first innings lead as we should have done."