Cricket: Somerset's late rally: Mushtaq scares Leicestershire

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Somerset . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .288 and 230

Leicestershire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .409 and 110-5

Leicestershire win by 5 wickets

A SPLENDID, combative game ended with Leicestershire's second Championship win of the season yesterday when they defeated Somerset by five wickets. Their target was no more than 110 but Somerset, no doubt mindful of a remarkable win over Lancashire last season, induced more than a few tremors in the home dressing-room by reducing them to 42 for 4 before the job was done.

As at Taunton last year when Lancashire, needing only 88, were dismissed for 72, Andy Caddick and Mushtaq Ahmed took the new ball and, bowling superbly, capitalised on the uncertainty of a team who are probably not yet accustomed to winning with great frequency.

If Somerset had the rub of the green then, it was certainly not the case earlier. First, they were without Andre van Troost who returned to the Netherlands because of his mother's illness, which left Somerset with only five effective wickets and a modest lead at the start of the day of 33.

Plan A, therefore, would have been to get through to lunch without further disasters. Helped by the loss of 13 overs to the weather they were within a few minutes of this when Harvey Trump, the nightwatchman, suffered his first lapse in concentration and was caught at slip off David Millns.

Two overs later, Millns deflected a firm straight drive by Nick Folland into the stumps to run out Robert Turner as he backed up and Leicestershire had made a breakthrough that was previously beyond an attack which was without the injured Alan Mullally.

Millns had been hastily removed after two overs costing 23 runs. Brian Bolus, the Test selector, was present in time to see him recapture his rhythm, take the important wicket of Folland, nine short of his third first-class century, and emerge with match figures of 9 for 127.

With Mullally's footmarks to bowl into, Mushtaq was always going to be a problem. The fact that Caddick gave so little away probably encouraged risks against the leg- spinner, who had Phil Simmons caught behind.

When Mushtaq deceived James Whitaker and Nigel Briers with googlies, or something similar, Leicestershire were at their lowest ebb. But as the bowlers wearied, Vince Wells and Ben Smith turned sensible defence into robust attack to seal the game.