Division Two: Saeed Ajmal helps Worcestershire beat Essex
Saeed Ajmal took 13 wickets as Worcestershire beat Essex by 72 runs on day three of their clash at New Road.
Last Updated: 20/05/14 8:07pm
Spinner Ajmal cleaned up Essex's first innings with 6-75 and went one better in their second, taking 7-19 off 13.5 overs as the hosts wrapped up victory inside three days.
Resuming on 105-8, Worcestershire added just 15 runs to their overnight score, with Ajmal first to fall for a duck before Joe Leach became Monty Panesar's fifth wicket of the innings, with the Essex bowler finishing with figures of 5-23.
But Essex collapsed to 136 all-out in reply, with Jack Shantry taking 3-55 to aid Ajmal in bowling the hosts to victory.
In other action in the second tier, Kent face an uphill task to avoid defeat against Gloucestershire after being set the small matter of 582 for victory.
Hamish Marshall made 118 as he and Gareth Roderick (85) continued their overnight partnership, the pair putting on 157 for the fifth wicket. Darren Stevens eventually dismissed both batsmen, on his way to figures of 5-87.
Will Gidman and Benny Howell managed unbeaten knocks of 39 and 63 respectively before Gloucestershire eventually declared on 443-6 in their second innings at Bristol.
Gidman then claimed three wickets with the ball to see Kent struggling at 69-5, only for Ben Harmison (66 not out) and Sam Billings (51no) to dig in and make sure the visitors made it through to day four.
The clash between Hampshire and Leicestershire is set for an intriguing final day after the former closed on 306-8 in their second innings, meaning a lead of 342 at Grace Road.
James Vince continued his fine form with 56 while Matt Coles weighed in with an unbeaten 53 that included nine boundaries. Will Smith (46), Joe Gatting (44) and Adam Wheater (46) also added useful runs for the away side.
Charlie Shreck led the Leicestershire attack with three wickets having started the day with the bat in his hand, though he was unable to add a further run as the hosts were bowled out for 296, meaning a first-innings deficit of 36.