Worcestershire 304 &amp; 165 Surrey 576 <i>(Surrey win by innings and 107 runs)</i>: Kumble and Salisbury help Surrey to humble rivals

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They began this match as Surrey's closest rivals for promotion, but Worcestershire finished it with their tails between their legs, thrashed by the Second Division's top dogs and with more than a day to spare.

Not even four interruptions for rain during the day could put Surrey off their stride and prevent them recording their eighth win in this season's campaign.

This demolition of the second-placed team - Surrey's first at New Road since 1983 and Worcestershire's heaviest defeat of the season - fired Surrey 34 points ahead of the second-placed side and 46 clear of third-placed Essex, whom the runaway leaders tackle next week at Colchester. After the gulf in performance revealed here the title looks destined for London SE11.

The leg-spinners Anil Kumble and Ian Salisbury accounted for three-quarters of the Worcestershire wickets, but it was disciplined and accurate seam and swing bowling when Worcestershire began their task of wiping out a first-innings deficit of 272 that triggered the home side's downfall. Azhar Mahmood and Mohammad Akram picked up the first five wickets to fall.

They had to work around Vikram Solanki, the Worcestershire captain, who hung in there for more than three hours, a rock amid a stream of departures, but even he could only postpone the inevitable.

Surrey's latest spin twins took over the job of dismantling what was left of the Worcestershire innings and the pair of them ended up with seven wickets apiece in the match. Gareth Batty, a Surrey old boy from a while back, provided some irritation by sticking around for more than an hour and a half to remain unbeaten.

Worcestershire hopes had been cruelly raised earlier in the day - which Surrey resumed on 496 for 4 - when they had the dangerous James Benning, overnight centurion Alistair Brown and Azhar dismissed in the space of two overs. But Rikki Clarke, despite the handicap of a badly bruised right thumb, dashed any lingering hopes of containing the Surrey total with a belligerent, unbeaten 40.