County Championship round-up: Bears on brink of title after skittling Pears for 60

 

Any hopes harboured by Warwickshire's title rivals that regional pride might inspire Worcestershire to give the Division One leaders a hard time at New Road disappeared within the space of a single session.

It was all Warwickshire needed to dismiss their neighbours for 60 runs, Worcestershire's lowest all-out total in a first-class match for 41 years on a day that all but confirmed their relegation. And that after captain Daryl Mitchell had won the toss and decided to bat.

An inexperienced Worcestershire attack, including four bowlers with just 16 first-class appearances between them, were then made to labour for 47 overs as Ian Westwood and Varun Chopra put on 148 for the first wicket before Westwood was caught after attempting to sweep the off-spinner Moeen Ali. Chopra finished the day 115 not out after completing his third century of the season.

Keith Barker and Chris Wright, who have taken 105 wickets between them in the Championship, were the only Warwickshire bowlers used, finishing with five each.

"They were two colossal spells," the Warwickshire captain Jim Troughton said. "We wanted to bowl first and hit them hard and to get to do that after losing the toss was the first thing that went right for us. And to then get a hundred partnership, with Chopra getting a century – it's been a good day."

Former Essex seamer Wright and the Lancashire-born ex-footballer Barker each took their individual wicket hauls past 50 in a season for their first time. Worcestershire's score was the lowest in the Championship this year, three less than Lancashire managed against Worcestershire at Old Trafford in July.

With Sussex limited to only one batting point against Somerset at Hove, should Warwickshire score 350 within 110 overs in the first innings and win the match, they will have an unassailable lead.

Sussex, put in, were bowled out for 221. Murray Goodwin, who announced he is to leave Hove at the end of the season after 12 years with the county, gave Marcus Trescothick one of five catches at slip. Pakistan's Abdur Rehman finished with three for 30 after flying into Heathrow from Dubai yesterday morning and joining the match after lunch.

Nottinghamshire took maximum bowling points against Surrey at The Oval. Kevin Pietersen made only 15 and Surrey, still not sure of survival, have only one batting point so far.Lancashire's chances of escaping the bottom two are fading after Neil Dexter's unbeaten 123 helped Middlesex reach 389 for six at Lord's.

Division Two leaders Derbyshire remain on course to clinch promotion after they bowled out third-placed Kent for 261 at Canterbury, where Geraint Jones, the former England wicket-keeper, made 80.

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