Moody all alone

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The Independent Online
Leicestershire 638-6 dec

Worcestershire 155 and 353

Leics won by inns and 130 runs

As challenges go, playing cricket at all at current temperatures is daunting enough; following on 483 behind in such conditions is something else.

Having failed a test of character, as well as batsmanship, on Friday when responding to the second-highest total in Leicestershire's history, Worcestershire showed greater stickability second time around but were still beaten by an innings and 130 runs to stay bottom of the table.

Tom Moody was the mouse who roared, leading from the front with a majestic century. Several colleagues lacking his gifts could have done with his determination.

It has already been a profitable season for the strike bowlers David Millns and Alan Mullally after injuries handicapped both - and therefore Leicestershire's prospects - in 1995. They shot Derbyshire out for 89 and have added 12 more wickets between them in this match towards their joint target of 150.

Millns was initially the more successful yesterday, Mullally suffering as his former West Australian team-mate Moody and Phil Weston demonstrated some of the tenacity that Worcestershire's cricket had been lacking on the first two days.

Moody was mean and magnificent in reaching his century off 121 balls by taking 14 from Mullally's first over of the afternoon. Revenge was extracted in his next over, with a pearler that nipped back to take the off- stump. "People have been telling me I'd play for England if I got the ball to come back to the right-hander," said Mullally. Moody must now be a convert.

The captain had lost useful allies in Weston, bowled by Vince Wells immediately before lunch, and David Leatherdale, but again received no support from Graeme Hick. Dismissed for one to a poor shot in the first innings, Hick made only four in the second before edging a sharply rising delivery from Millns to second slip.

After a tea interval prolonged to 65 minutes by rain, the home side were held up further by Ruben Spiring, formerly of Durham University, and Steve Rhodes. That was particularly galling for them since Spiring should have been comfortably caught on 11, Mullally and Adrian Pierson managing to collide going for a gloved lob off Gordon Parsons.

Spiring completed a spirited half-century shortly before giving a third catch of the innings to Paul Nixon, who then claimed a smart fourth to see off Rhodes.

Wells and Mullally wrapped up a victory that makes Leicestershire, for the time being at least, Championship leaders.