Spin twins haunt Red Rose
Moeen Ali and Shaaiq Choudhry helped Worcestershire dominate the second day of their LV= County Championship Division One match against Lancashire at Old Trafford.
Off-spinner Moeen took 6-67 and slow left-armer Choudhry 4-38 as the Red Rose were bowled out for 162, conceding a first-innings lead of 129.
By the close of a rain-wrecked evening session, Worcestershire openers Daryl Mitchell and Phil Hughes had made nine without loss.
That left the visitors well placed to press for their first championship victory of the season and their only one in 11 Division One matches since they beat Lancashire late last summer.
Only a last-wicket stand of 43 between Simon Kerrigan and Kyle Hogg ensured the hosts saved the follow-on after a succession of batsmen had failed to cope with accurate slow bowling on a wicket offering plenty of assistance.
Most of the damage was done in a 25-over spell either side of lunch, in which Lancashire collapsed from 65 for one to 119 for nine.
Worcestershire’s spinners struck two important blows before the interval. Stephen Moore irresponsibly holed out to Choudhry at deep mid-on off Moeen for 26 and slow left-armer Choudhry then had Paul Horton lbw on the front foot for 34.
Lancashire’s decline gathered pace after lunch as Ashwell Prince was well beaten by Moeen’s turn and edged to Ben Scott for one.
Karl Brown was then stumped for nine attempting an ungainly heave off Choudhry to leave the home side 86 for four.
Steven Croft was bowled after being beaten by Choudhry’s turn, and Tom Smith’s sweep off Moeen only found the safe hands of Richard Jones at backward square-leg.
Gareth Cross, Glen Chapple and Ajmal Shahzad were all caught at short leg by Matthew Pardoe in the space of eight deliveries from Moeen as he and Choudhry, who had taken only six championship wickets between them before this match, turned the screw on the Lancashire tail.
Fortunately for the home spectators, Kerrigan and Hogg played a little straighter than some of their colleagues and the former hit a six off Moeen in his innings of 20, which was his second-highest first-class score.
He was bowled attempting to hit Choudhry over the top, leaving the Worcestershire spinners with combined figures of 10-105 on a day which had thrown Scott’s first-day century into ever sharper focus.