Worcestershire thrash rock-bottom Leicestershire inside three days

Matthew Waite in his bowling action Getty Images

Worcestershire 577 for 6 declared (Azhar 235, Haynes 117, D'Oliveira 54, Cox 52*, Mulder 4-125) beat Leicestershire 148 (Barnard 3-45) and 170 (Hill 50, Waite 4-35, Pennington 3-30) by an innings and 259 runs

Worcestershire overwhelmed Leicestershire by an innings and 259 runs with more than a day to spare in the LV=Insurance County Championship match at New Road. The home side collected a maximum haul of 24 points to secure their second Championship victory of the campaign.

They established a first innings lead of 429 after plundering 120 from 20 overs before Saturday morning's declaration half an hour before lunch on 577 for 6 - their highest ever total against Leicestershire.

Then some fiery bowling from Dillon Pennington, a career Championship best return of 4 for 35 from loanee Matthew Waite and a series of superb catches saw Leicestershire crumble for a second time.

"It hurts and this is the lowest point of my head coach role," Paul Nixon said. "That wasn't a first-class performance. We have to do some soul searching. We have to reflect and we have to be honest. Our discipline with bat and ball wasn't good enough."

Worcestershire dominated in all departments with Azhar Ali's double century the bedrock of their innings and taking the Pakistan batter's run tally to 465 in the last four innings.

They looked a side capable of mounting a promotion challenge although they will undoubtedly encounter stiffer opposition than that on offer from Leicestershire.

The visitors never recovered from opting to bat on a helpful pitch after winning the toss and being bowled out for 148. They remain anchored to the foot of the table without a win heading into the break from four-day cricket and the launch of the Vitality Blast campaign.

Worcestershire resumed on 456 for 3 and club captain Brett D'Oliveira added only two to his overnight 52 before he became Wiaan Mulder's fourth scalp of the innings but Azhar, who resumed on 202, set the tone with a succession of boundaries.

He eventually played on to Chris Wright to end his marathon nine-and-a-quarter-hour knock on 225 and left the arena to a standing ovation and the congratulations of several Leicestershire players.

An innings full of class spanning three days and 350 balls included one six and 22 fours and was Worcestershire's highest individual score since Moeen Ali's 250 versus Glamorgan at New Road nine years ago.

Ed Barnard made a breezy 26 as Worcestershire topped the 500 mark for the first time in nine years before the allrounder hooked Wright down long leg's throat but the significant acceleration was provided by Ben Cox.

He cleared the long Cathedral side boundary for the first of his three sixes and two more maximums off new Leicestershire red-ball captain, Callum Parkinson, hurried him to a 42-ball half century. Worcestershire surpassed their 121-year-old record score against Leicestershire of 561 before the declaration.

Leicestershire needed a solid start but Rishi Patel managed only a single before he was plumb lbw to Pennington.

Hassan Azad had denied Worcestershire victory in the opening day of the season at the Uptonsteel County Ground with an undefeated century so Worcestershire's joy was understandable when the opener on 18 was brilliantly caught and bowled by Charlie Morris, who was slightly wrongfooted but adjusted to hold onto the low chance one-handed away to his left.

There was no respite for Leicestershire and Colin Ackermann, deposed as captain this week, tried to work Pennington to leg and was lbw.

Pennington bowled with considerable pace but it needed a superb catch by keeper Ben Cox to provide him with his third wicket. Lewis Hill had just completed a 64-ball half-century when he tried to pull the pace bowler and top edged the ball towards fine leg but Cox running back at full tilt managed to hold onto a diving catch at full stretch.

Waite, on loan from Yorkshire after Joe Leach's injury, came into the attack and Mulder was bowled after offering no stroke. He then clung onto a return catch the equal of that by Morris away to his right to account for Harry Swindells on the brink of tea.

The end came swiftly for Leicestershire with Ben Mike, Ed Barnes and Rehan Ahmed all caught behind by Cox, the first two off Waite and the last of them from the bowling of Morris.

Leics 3rd innings Partnerships

1st6Hassan AzadRK Patel
2nd30Hassan AzadLJ Hill
3rd33CN AckermannLJ Hill
4th21LJ HillPWA Mulder
5th35PWA MulderRehan Ahmed
6th0HJ SwindellsRehan Ahmed
7th2BWM MikeRehan Ahmed
8th0E BarnesRehan Ahmed
9th0CF ParkinsonRehan Ahmed
10th43CJC WrightCF Parkinson