Somerset close in on leaders

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Peter Trego

All-rounder Peter Trego picked up four wickets as Worcestershire subsided to a paltry 95 all out in their second innings at New Road

Somerset stepped up their challenge for the Division One title in the LV= County Championship with victory by an innings and eight runs after polishing off Worcestershire for 95 at New Road.

Peter Trego claimed 4-22 and spearheaded a well-balanced attack with the variety to run through the relegation-threatened home side as a wearing pitch offered bounce for the seamers and some turn for Murali Kartik.

Back-to-back wins have lifted fourth-placed Somerset to within 23 points of leaders Durham although Warwickshire could be the team to watch with their game in hand on the other contenders.

Somerset were the nearly men of last season when they lost the championship on the last day, but this year they are gearing up to make a late run for a prize that has always eluded them.

Four of their last five matches are at home, and while results can be hard to come by on the flat pitches at Taunton, it could boil up to a decider with Lancashire, currently in second place, in their final fixture.

For Worcestershire it is back to the drawing board after briefly escaping from the bottom two with a couple of home wins. Now they have to re-build from a deflating defeat after posting their highest and lowest totals of the season in the same match.

Somerset bravely followed their strategy to make close to 600, which they did after a double century by Marcus Trescothick, and then bowl out Worcestershire when the pitch began to deteriorate.

Overhead conditions on a gloomy morning probably gave their seamers another advantage as a number of bowling changes paid off with immediate wickets.

Steve Kirby angled his second delivery across Matt Pardoe to have the opener caught at first slip and Vikram Solanki edged Trego’s fifth ball to second slip.

Moeen Ali, having made a career-best 158 in the first innings, got to 10 before a top-edged pull gave Alfonso Thomas an early success and worse still for Worcestershire, this led to a clutch of wickets.

Jack Manuel was bowled by Kartik from only the third ball he faced and Thomas, who finished with 3-13, accounted for Gareth Andrew and Alexei Kervezee, the latter giving James Hildreth his fifth catch of the match.

Captain Daryl Mitchell stayed for nearly two hours but went for 26 when the second ball of a new spell by Trego kept horribly low.

Trego and Kartik then mopped up the last three wickets for 11 runs in six overs after lunch, leaving wicketkeeper Ben Scott unbeaten on 15.

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