Withering double for Warwickshire
Warwickshire took a major step towards Division One safety in the LV= County Championship by beating Worcestershire by an innings and 18 runs at Edgbaston.
There were echoes of the final fixture in last season's championship as they completed a season's double over their neighbours for the first time since 1933.
Last September, Chris Woakes took 10 wickets in a match as they trounced Glamorgan and walked off with the Division Two trophy after their only home win of the summer.
This season they again failed to win any of their first seven home games but seized their last chance when Woakes posted match figures of 9-83 on another bleak day for Worcestershire.
A ninth defeat in 13 games all but confirms their return to Division Two 12 months after winning promotion with their local rivals.
They are now set to complete an unwanted treble, having been relegated straight away in two previous seasons in Division One.
Most things that have been wrong with their cricket this year were evident in dismissals for 154 and 271 in a match where they won the toss but put themselves out of contention when conceding a total of 443.
Following on 289 behind on the third afternoon, they were given a better start by Stephen Moore (63) but after reaching 123 for three overnight, they lost two wickets in the first 11 balls and folded an hour after lunch.
The situation is unlikely to improve quickly. Steve Davies and Gareth Batty are leaving to join Surrey at the end of season and fast bowler Kabir Ali has now requested permission to talk to other counties.
A mass exodus can only undermine a side that struggled to compete when injuries to Kabir and Simon Jones decimated their attack.
They need 19 points from the last three matches to edge past Glamorgan’s 2005 tally of 88.5, the lowest by any county in the 10 seasons since the championship adopted a two-division format.
The latest defeat was signposted when Woakes and Sreesanth blew away three wickets in 10 overs. Moeen Ali and Alexei Kervezee played poor shots but Vikram Solanki lost his middle stump to a beauty from Woakes.
Warwickshire’s charge was then delayed by a half-century from Davies, although sadly for Worcestershire supporters, his recent good form is more likely to whet the appetite of a future audience at the Brit Oval.
Gareth Andrew (23) shared in a stand of 71 for the seventh wicket before he was caught at slip off left-arm spinner Ant Botha and Davies played on to Sreesanth after making 62 from 107 balls.
Woakes (4-43) then applied the final blow by bowling Imran Arif with a full toss.