Ali spins Lancashire towards trapdoor

 

Title-holders Lancashire are in danger of being dragged into a relegation battle after they were bowled out for their lowest Championship total on their home ground for 49 years by struggling Worcestershire at Old Trafford yesterday.

On a pitch offering generous help to spin bowlers, they were dismissed for just 63 in 31.1 overs as Worcestershire off-spinner Moeen Ali claimed a career-best figures for the second time in 24 hours.

Lancashire, beaten by 205 runs, have won only one First Division match this season and have suffered four defeats, leaving them only nine points clear of the relegation places having played two matches more than all three teams behind them.

Their woes might have been deepened, too, when the ECB convened a pitch panel following the heavy influence of spin on the outcome – 34 of the 40 wickets fell to slow bowlers – but the panel – headed by ECB pitches consultant Chris Wood – decided the Old Trafford surface did not merit a points deduction, rating it 'poor' but ruling that there were extenuating circumstances.The Lancashire total was their lowest at Old Trafford since being dismissed for 62 by Somerset in 1963 and their lowest anywhere since being bowled out by Glamorgan for 51 at Liverpool in 1997.

For Worcestershire it was a first four-day win in 11 matches since they beat Lancashire at New Road last season and they are now only five points behind Lancashire.

Lancashire, who were heavily beaten by Nottinghamshire in their only other match at Old Trafford this season, may rue going into the match with only one specialist spinner in Simon Kerrigan, regardless of the adaptable Steven Croft's performance.

Kerrigan admitted his side had not known what to expect from a pitch being used for the first time since the square was turned at the end of the 2010 season. "We haven't played too much Championship cricket at Old Trafford in the last two years so we didn't know what it was going to do," he said. "It was damp on the first morning and we thought that when it dried out it would flatten out for a couple of days and then turn on the last day."

In the event, it was over well before the end of the third day, Ali finishing with 6 for 29 bowling from the pavilion end to go with his first-innings six for 67 to claim 10 wickets in a match for the first time in his career. Before this match, the 25-year-old had claimed five wickets for 260 in eight championship games this season.

Earlier in the day, Lancashire's Croft, normally a seamer, also set a career-best, finishing with six for 41 bowling off-breaks as Worcestershire were bowled out for 139, to which veteran Vikram Solanki contributed 50 on the day it was announced he would be leaving New Road to join Surrey.

Croft, in England's provisional squad for the World Twenty20, took 3 for 64 in the first innings, in which a century from wicketkeeper Ben Scott became the match-winning innings.

Scott was also the key to Lancashire's demise as they chased an unlikely target of 269 runs to win, holding three catches and executing two stumpings to finish with seven dismissals.

While title rivals Nottinghamshire were frustrated by another wash-out at Trent Bridge, leaders Warwickshire are strongly placed at Taunton, where another off-spinner, New Zealand's Jeetan Patel, ended on a hat-trick as he took a career-best 7 for 75 to dismiss Somerset for 254 despite an unbeaten 73 from Nick Compton.

Warwickshire had been all out for 400 with Alfonso Thomas ending on a hat-trick and take a lead of 212 into the final day, with seven wickets in hand. Durham's poor season continued at Arundel, where they closed on 80 for seven after finishing all square against Sussex after the first innings.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before