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Awesome Ajmal sends Worcestershire top

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Saeed Ajmal posted match figures of 12-140 as Worcestershire went 12 points clear of Hampshire at the top of the LV= County Championship Division Two table with a crushing 249-run victory over Glamorgan at New Road.

Initially inspired by pace bowler Charles 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 sixth 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.

They added only 12 runs from 14 overs in the first hour and in the process impressive young seamer Morris fired out the overnight pair.

Tom Lancefield edged to third slip in the former-Oxford Brookes student's first over of the day and a stubborn effort by Andrew Salter ended when he tried to fend off a lifting delivery and saw the ball loop high to Jack Shantry in the gully. 

Morris signed off with the key wicket of Jacques Rudolph, driving low to short midwicket, and that was the signal for Worcestershire to call on Ajmal. Glamorgan, as they may have feared, became puppets dancing to his tune.

In his third over Ben Wright became his 50th scalp of the season, lapping to deep square-leg, and soon after number 51 was in the bag with Chris Cooke's loose drive to mid-off.

With half the side gone for 32, Glamorgan could already smell defeat, but Will Bragg, as he had done for nearly eight hours in rescuing his side in the first meeting at the SWALEC Stadium in May, was ready for a fight in the one troublesome stand with Jim Allenby.

The pair held off Ajmal for an hour, putting on 52 in 16 overs, before Allenby, having hit seven fours in making 35, fell to the spinner.

The left-hander attempted to clear the square-leg fence but was brilliantly caught by Tom Fell, running out towards the boundary and taking the ball over his shoulder.

Bragg's patience was finally broken when a big heave across the line resulted in a thin edge to the wicketkeeper. That opened the door and before Glamorgan could blink they were all out after batting for little more than three hours. 

Ajmal's wiles were too much for Ruaidhri Smith, Mark Wallace and Michael Hogan, two of the last three bowled, and Wallace given out lbw.

Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes 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 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."

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