Cricket: Austin's striking economy

NEIL FAIRBROTHER'S unbeaten 82 set Lancashire on the way to a 20-run victory over Leicestershire at Old Trafford yesterday, which lifted them level with Essex at the top of the AXA League.

Leicestershire appeared on target to pass Lancashire's 183 for 7 when Vince Wells (49), Phil Simmons (27) and Ben Smith (35) laid a solid foundation of 135 for 2 by the 31st over. But Peter Martin and Ian Austin then took three wickets each as the visitors plunged to 163 all out with two balls remaining. Austin was particularly economical with a return of 7.4-2-8- 3, while Martin claimed 3 for 40, all his victims coming in one over.

Yorkshire moved to within six points of the joint leaders as Worcestershire slumped from 135 for 2 to 168 all out, the England bowler Darren Gough's four wickets in 11 balls helping his side to a 34-run victory at New Road.

Tom Moody (47) and Vikram Solanki (38) put on 74 for the first wicket, with Graeme Hick adding 23, before the Worcestershire innings slumped. Darren Lehmann's left-arm spin and the medium pace of Anthony McGrath began the collapse by taking two wickets each, before Gough, with 4 for 30, polished off the tail.

A third-wicket stand worth 111 between Matthew Wood (64) and Lehmann (59) had earlier propelled Yorkshire to 202 for 9, despite the efforts of Bobby Chapman, who took a career-best 5 for 30.

n Glamorgan, weakened by injuries, were denied victory when Neil Smith propped up a Warwickshire with an unbeaten 72 on the final day of their Championship match at Edgbaston. The all-rounder Smith reached his fifth half-century of the season as Warwickshire tried to make 290 in 75 overs to win the game. But eventually he was battling to save the match with ninth wicket partner Tim Munton, as they took the score to 253 for 8.