Ajmal career-best topples Essex

Andover Advertiser: Worcestershire's Saeed Ajmal bewildered Essex with seven for 19 Worcestershire's Saeed Ajmal bewildered Essex with seven for 19

Saeed Ajmal spun Worcestershire to victory over Essex in the LV= County Championship with a mesmeric spell of seven for 19.

Chasing 209 to win a low-scoring Division Two clash after bowling Worcestershire out for 120 - Monty Panesar and Championship debutant Matt Salisbury with the final two wickets, to finish with five for 23 and four for 50 respectively - Essex were bowled out for 136.

Jack Shantry (three for 55) did the early damage, removing both openers and number three Jaik Mickleburgh before Pakistan spinner Ajmal took centre stage.

He finished the match off with two wickets in two balls, Ben Foakes trapped lbw before Panesar popped his first ball straight back to his fellow tweaker.

Unbeaten Worcestershire's third win in five games was worth 21 points, with Essex taking four.

Northamptonshire were left battling to save their Division One match against Middlesex, who were able to declare their first innings at 543 for seven for a lead of 260.

Neil Dexter was 163 not out, adding to captain Chris Rogers' 106, while Joe Denly hit 70 and tail-ender Toby Roland-Jones smashed a career-best 60 off only 30 balls.

The seamer then returned to his primary role by dismissing Stephen Peters and David Sales for figures of two for 32 as Northants slipped to 88 for four, still 172 behind.

Mark Stoneman and Michael Richardson lifted Durham to 121 for one in their second innings as they battled back against Somerset on day two.

Having bowled Durham out for 155, Somerset replied with 234, Alviro Petersen (78) and James Hildreth (43) with a fourth-wicket stand of 79 before Craig Overton made a brisk 45 not out from number nine.

Durham's Keaton Jennings fell for three but Stoneman (60no) and Richardson (57no) were together until the close.

Back in Division Two, Gloucestershire were closing in on a first Championship win of the season after setting Kent a target of 582 for victory on day three.

Kent were trailing by 417 runs on 165 for five at stumps after Gloucestershire declared on 443 for six and then took a flurry of early wickets, b ut Ben Harmison (66no) and Sam Billings (51no) put on 96 for the fifth wicket.

Hampshire led by 342 with two wickets remaining after reaching 306 for eight in their second innings against Leicestershire.

Leicestershire's last wicket fell with no addition to their overnight 296, James Tomlinson removing Charlie Shreck to finish with four for 49 to go with Kyle Abbott's four for 55.

Hampshire's score featured contributions from Will Smith (46), Joe Gatting (44), James Vince (56) and Adam Wheater (46) before quick late runs from Matt Coles (53no) and Danny Briggs (26no).

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