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Wessels and Taylor steer Notts to victory

Fast-improving Nottinghamshire dodged the worst of the rain to register a 10th consecutive victory across all competitions by beating Worcestershire by five wickets in LV= County Championship Division One at New Road.

Needing 75 more runs from their overnight total of 157 for three, they were delayed for 75 minutes by a heavy shower and it was after lunch when a strong team performance came to a successful conclusion after a stand of 157 by James Taylor and Riki Wessels.

On the resumption their partnership was worth 120, and when it was broken by Saeed Ajmal it was the county’s highest for the fourth wicket in Championship meetings with Worcestershire.

Taylor, a former academy player at New Road, compiled a classy 66 and Wessels, after a first-innings duck, more than made amends with 88 on the ground where he marked his debut for Notts by scoring 67 in May 2011.

Worcestershire, as always, kept fighting to the end but they were eventually overpowered by two batsmen – and a team – at the top of their game.

After a sluggish start to the season, it now seems that Nottinghamshire can do no wrong. Since propping up the Division One table in the Championship on June 24, they have amassed 77 points from four matches, and in completed games in all competitions they have reeled off 10 consecutive wins.

Worcestershire, in contrast, have lost seven completed matches in a row, mostly in the Royal London One-Day Cup, and the struggle against relegation in the Championship continues despite another committed display.

The match was probably lost on the second day when a dropped chance allowed Nottinghamshire to take control by adding 157 in the afternoon session.

By the last day their victory was close to being a formality, although Taylor and Wessels went out of their way to avoid unnecessary risks in adding 31 in 12 overs by lunch.

It was only when they looked for a big finish that they came unstuck, departing in successive overs from Ajmal as they tried to take on the off-spinner. Taylor was caught at extra-cover and Wessels at mid-off.

Notts eventually got home 45 minutes after lunch. Samit Patel, who finished on 17 not out, avoided a pair with a six to midwicket off Brett D’Oliveira and Chris Read, 19 not out, finished it off with successive fours off Ajmal.

Nottinghamshire’s director of cricket Mick Newell said: “We were just saying to the boys, that we’ve had, I think, 31 days since we last played at Trent Bridge and since then we haven’t lost a game, so that’s a fantastic effort from everybody and the players deserve all the credit.

“They have put in some really big performances and we are in a much better position now than we were 31 days ago.

“This game was absolutely massive for us to win to keep that gap between us and Worcestershire. Now we can start to look upwards as well as downwards, but the key thing is to play as well as we have been playing.”

Worcestershire’s director of cricket Steve Rhodes said: “If we look back at both first innings, ours and theirs, I think there were good opportunities for adding 40 or 50 runs to our total and maybe 40 or 50 off their total.

“Add them up together and you get possibly the cushion you need for the fourth innings.

“In nearly every game we have fought hard and I know the opposition have found it hard to break us. Here we were playing against a team with six international players.”

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