Northants grind it out
Andrew Hall’s 65 was the cornerstone of Northamptonshire’s innings as they elected to bat throughout the third day of an LV= County Championship match seemingly destined for a draw.
Captain Hall, Stephen Peters and Rob Newton all made half-centuries side at Wantage Road as the hosts posted 385 for nine declared at the close.
Barring some imaginative and unlikely innings forfeits overnight, these two sides must now be resigned to a draw.
Peters top-scored with 75, with Shakib Al Hasan taking 3-75 and Alan Richardson claiming figures of 4-83 with an anti-climactic final day seemingly on the way tomorrow.
After two days ruined by rain, Northants resumed their first innings on 96 for three, with opener Peters on 38 and youngster Newton yet to score.
Peters went on to complete a patient half-century off 123 balls as Northants made a confident start.
Newton, his 20-year-old partner, raced to his fifty in more explosive fashion - it spanned just 59 balls and included a superb six pulled over midwicket off Richardson.
Newton's aggression proved to be his undoing when he launched Gareth Andrew to Richardson at deep square-leg to end a fourth-wicket stand of 80 with Peters, who was pinned lbw by Shakib in the last over before lunch.
Richardson, who took two wickets on the first day, had Zimbabwe’s Elton Chigumbura wcaught behind by Ben Cox in the third over with the second new ball.
Hall became the third batsman to pass 50 when he clouted his 129th ball, bowled by Jack Shantry, behind square-leg for four.
He and James Middlebrook survived until tea, with the pair completing a half-century partnership in the first over of the evening session.
Hall had reached 65 before he feathered a Shakib delivery to Cox in the following over, while Middlebrook, who made a competent 40, saw his leg stump taken out by the same bowler.
However, wicketkeeper David Murphy and Jack Brooks made the Worcestershire attack toil with an entertaining ninth-wicket stand of 68.
Richardson comprehensively bowled Brooks, who had hit 34 off 46 balls, but Murphy stayed put for the rest of the day and was 36 not out when the hosts finally declared.