Cricket: Menace of Mullally

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Nottinghamshire 61 and 221 Leicestershire 505-6 dec Leicestershire win by an innings and 223 runs

TITLE-CHASING Leicestershire ran into frustration in their quest to make short work of Nottinghamshire here yesterday before a devastating spell of fast bowling from England pace bowler Alan Mullally clinched victory by an innings and 223 runs to close to within 15 points of the Championship leaders, Surrey.

Mullally, released from England's squad at The Oval to play here, finished with a career-best 7 for 55 and match figures of 11 for 89. After building a massive first-innings lead of 444 before declaring at 505 for 6, Leicestershire sniffed an early finish by reducing their hosts, bowled out for 61 in the first innings, to 26 for 2.

Mullally, who had Jason Gallian caught at second slip with a ball that moved appreciably off the pitch, then made a second breakthrough without addition to the score when Usman Afzaal was taken at leg slip, the first of two Nottinghamshire batsmen to bag a pair. Mullally struck again as Graeme Archer, trying to work the ball off his legs, edged to gully.

At this point Nottinghamshire were 65 for 3 on a pitch that was still offering some help to the seamers but Leicestershire were made to wait for their next success as Paul Pollard and Mathew Dowman displayed some of the backbone missing in the first innings, putting on 102 in 33 overs.

But Dowman fell just before tea, caught at silly point off the left-arm spin of Matthew Brimson, and when Mullally returned to the attack in the final session he did the job of two men, dismissing Chris Tolley and Guy Welton in the same over and then sending back Chris Read as Nottinghamshire slumped to 200 for 7.

Tolley went lbw before Welton, who also bagged a pair, was caught in bizarre fashion as the ball ballooned to extra cover via his boot. Read was beaten by a fast, swinging yorker before Carl Crowe's throw from extra cover ran out Pollard. Then Mullally uprooted Paul Strang's off-stump and Brimson finished the job by having Andy Oram stumped.