Batty celebrates 10-wicket haul

Northamptonshire 177 & 264 Worcestershire 292 & 97-1
Click to follow
The Independent Online


Having held the upper hand for all but the first hour of this contest, Worcestershire should close out their second victory of the season here some time this morning, an appropriate reward for England spinner Gareth Batty's first 10-wicket match haul. Chasing 150 to win, they need only 53 more with nine wickets still intact.



Having held the upper hand for all but the first hour of this contest, Worcestershire should close out their second victory of the season here some time this morning, an appropriate reward for England spinner Gareth Batty's first 10-wicket match haul. Chasing 150 to win, they need only 53 more with nine wickets still intact.

Batty, the 27-year-old Yorkshireman who made his Test debut in Bangladesh during the winter, was thrown the second new ball just in time to snare the last wicket as Northamptonshire were bowled out for 264, his off-breaks claiming match figures of 10 for 113 to go with Wednesday's career-best single-innings analysis of 7 for 52.

Evidently not a man to make a fuss of such things, he waved away an invitation to lead the players off the field after holding a return catch to dismiss his fellow off-spinner, Jason Brown. This was surprising, in a way. If recent history is any guide, it is not the kind of experience he is likely to enjoy too often. Before yesterday, no Worcestershire spinner had taken 10 in a match for seven years, the last being another Yorkshireman, Richard Illingworth, in September 1997.

Having already played for three counties, he might secretly have been considering the merits of making Northamptonshire his fourth if all their pitches play like this one has. Slow and helpful from day one, it has been the kind on which batsmen have rarely felt secure. Only three managed to get past 50 and Worcestershire's 115-run first-innings lead always looked useful.

On the other hand, Batty's short-term prospects at New Road look better. Having beaten Gloucestershire by an innings last month, Worcestershire can look forward with reasonable confidence to being in Division One next season, whereas Northamptonshire, with whom they were promoted in 2003, still seek a first win and have only Sussex below them in the table.

One down for 63 overnight, the home side lost Tim Roberts in the first over and by the time half their wickets had gone, they were only 41 in front. Martin van Jaarsveld edged Batty to the wicketkeeper but both David Sales, the captain, and Graeme Swann got themselves out.

Usman Afzaal produced a more considered effort, digging in for three hours and 45 minutes, his partnership with wicketkeeper Gerard Brophy adding 52 for the sixth wicket before Brophy was snapped up off bat and pad at silly point. But having survived Batty, it was with a touch of irony that Afzaal should fall to Vikram Solanki, whose occasional off-spin had last claimed a Championship wicket in 2000.

With the second new ball, Andy Bichel blasted out two wickets in quick succession before Batty grabbed it, his dismissal of Brown leaving Worcestershire four sessions to reach their target. Wisely, with Brown and Swann still fancying their chances, they approached the task with caution but by the close were almost two-thirds there with Stephen Peters, well caught by Brophy, the only casualty.

Comments