Northants fall under Ojha's spell
A brilliant spell from left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha helped Surrey wrap up a comprehensive 333-run victory on the final morning of their match at LV= County Championship Division Two promotion rivals Northamptonshire.
India international Ojha provided a masterclass from the Wantage Road End, recording outstanding second-innings figures of 6-8 from 16.3 overs, which included 10 maidens.
This result throws the race for promotion wide open, with third-placed Surrey and Middlesex, who went to the top of the table yesterday, both having two games to play.
Northamptonshire, three points behind Middlesex and 23 clear of Surrey in second, are likely to need a victory from their final game at home against Gloucestershire, which starts on September 12. Yet if results elsewhere go against them, that still may not be enough.
Northants resumed this morning on 103 for four, facing an uphill battle to save the game, with captain Andrew Hall and nightwatchman Lee Daggett at the crease.
Hall survived a strong lbw shout in the sixth over of the morning off Ojha, who had already taken the key wickets of Alex Wakely and David Sales just before the close last night.
In the next over, Hall mistimed a pull off Stuart Meaker and was caught behind by Steven Davies for 13.
Meaker was almost celebrating another wicket when he found the edge of Daggett’s bat, but the ball flew between second and third slip and away to the boundary.
Ojha soon had his third - and Surrey’s sixth - wicket of the innings when Niall O’Brien attempted to sweep and found Gareth Batty at short-leg, ensuring he completed a pair.
The hosts struggled along on to 138 before Ojha claimed his fourth victim, bowling Daggett for 16.
With the score on 149, Ojha then completed his five-for by dismissing James Middlebrook, with substitute fielder Zafar Ansari - on for the injured Tom Maynard - taking the catch at silly point.
With Stephen Peters still unable to bat due to a back injury, the ninth and final Northamptonshire wicket fell with the score on 152, Ojha bagging his sixth victim when trapping David Burton lbw for two.
Surrey pocketed 21 points, with Northants collecting just three.