County Championship: Saeed Ajmal fires Worcestershire to victory over Glamorgan
Last Updated: 02/07/14 6:44pm
Saeed Ajmal posted match figures of 12-140 as Worcestershire went 12 points clear of Hampshire at the top of the Second Division table with a 249-run victory over Glamorgan at New Road.
Initially inspired by pace bowler Charlie Morris' opening spell of 3-14, they turned to their Pakistan off-spinner to wrap up their fifth win of the season and open up a gap of 28 points over third-placed Surrey with a game in hand.
Taking the last four wickets in seven balls without conceding a run, Ajmal finished with 7-34, his fifth return of five wickets or more in eight championship appearances this season.
A victory target of 355 was never seriously on the agenda as the Welshmen were routed for 105.
Steve Rhodes, Worcestershire's director of cricket, said it was a victory dedicated to Damian D'Oliveira, the county's former player and academy director who died on Sunday.
Rhodes said: "At the start of the game we addressed the players and told them about Damian. There were a lot of sad faces and it almost became a mission to win this game for him.
"It was a great effort all-round. Even though Saeed Ajmal got plenty of wickets, he couldn't do it on his own."
Glamorgan's Head Coach, Toby Radford, said: "We came today knowing it was going to be tough facing Saeed Ajmal on a turning pitch but would have hoped for a better fight than that.
"We still want to be learning as a side and keep developing. We have to learn from playing against someone like him."
Essex beat Gloucestershire by 10 wickets at Chelmsford as James Foster equalled his county's record for the most dismissals in a match.
By a strange coincidence, it was against the West Countrymen that he joined David East (1983) and Kenneth Gibson (1911) at the top of the list when he bagged nine victims at Bristol five years ago.
On this occasion, he claimed three catches in the second innings to go with the six victims claimed on the opening day to pave the way for Essex's first Championship victory since the opening match of the campaign.
Foster collected his ninth catch in the first over after lunch when Jack Taylor was pinned on the back foot as Jesse Ryder found the edge.
Gloucestershire had resumed the day on 194-4, still requiring a further 133 to avoid an innings defeat, and needing something spectacular and substantial from the last of their recognised batsmen, Ian Cockbain and Will Gidman.
But such hopes were quickly extinguished as both were sent back to the pavilion during the first dozen overs of the morning.
Tom Westley (one) and Nick Browne (nine) needed just nine deliveries to reach the winning post as the visitors were left with just two points for their efforts.
Essex head coach Paul Grayson said: "It was a good team performance and shows what we are capable of.
"It certainly gives us a great deal of confidence going into our next Championship game with Derbyshire at Chesterfield next week.".
Gloucestershire director of cricket John Bracewell added: "It was one of those games where the toss was quite important but, having said that, I thought it was a very good wicket for four-day cricket.
"We should really have got 350 in our first innings but you can't lose the first two days and expect to fight back successfully."