Moeen Ali’s outstanding form with the bat continued as his innings of 104 was the highlight of the opening day at New Road.
Worcestershire were put into bat and the first wicket fell on 38 when Daryl Mitchell (22) edged to Andrea Agathangelou at second slip off Tom Smith. Then a second wicket partnership of 54 between Matt Pardoe and Ali took the home side into a good position until, in the penultimate delivery before lunch, Pardoe (35) was caught behind by Gareth Cross off Luis Reece as Worcestershire went to lunch on 92-2 off 30 overs.
After lunch Tilan Samaraweera departed in bizarre circumstances for 6 when, after leaving alone a delivery from Kyle Hogg, he wandered out of his crease and was stumped, when Cross’s throw hit the stumps, but then Ali, who went to his 50 off 97 balls, with his 9th four, and Tom Fell remained at the crease for the rest of the afternoon session as the home side went to tea on 196-3 off 64 overs.
After tea a further 19 runs were added until Fell was run out for 43 by Reece at square leg to end a fourth wicket partnership of 91, Ross Whiteley, making his Championship debut for Worcestershire, was bowled first ball by Arron Lilley, with the score on 215-5, and 19 runs later Joe Leach was adjudged lbw off Glen Chapple for 10.
Ali, though, went to his third Championship hundred of the season, which came off 194 balls, before, during the first over with the new ball, he was out for 104 off 205 balls, with 13 fours, when he edged behind to Cross off Hogg to end an excellent innings, which took him past 1,000 runs in the Championship this season.
Jack Shantry, caught at second slip by Agathangelou off Hogg for 5, and Ben Cox, caught at point by Reece off Smith for 7, both fell cheaply as the home side lost 6 wickets for just 37 runs but then Alan Richardson, who struck the only 6 of the innings, and Graeme Cessford put on 35 for the last wicket until Richardson was caught at deep mid-on by Simon Katich off Hogg for 21 and Worcestershire were all out for 287 off 92.1 overs.
The Lancashire opening pair of Chapple, as nightwatchman, and Reece then had to face one over from Richardson before stumps and the visitors ended the day on 0-0.
On a truncated second day at New Road Lancashire trail Worcestershire by 16 runs, ending on 271-5.
Lancashire lost nightwatchman Glen Chapple for 0 in the fourth ball of the day when he was caught behind by Ben Cox off Graeme Cessford. Then Luis Reece and Paul Horton put on 77 for the second wicket until Horton (30) was well caught low down by Alan Richardson at backward-square leg off Moeen Ali and then before lunch Reece went to his 50 off 84 balls, with 10 fours, as Lancashire went to lunch at 110-2 off 33 overs.
Reece departed in the first over after lunch when he was caught at first slip by Ali off Richardson for 59, with the score on 111-3, but then Ashwell Prince and Simon Katich quickly turned the game towards the visitors as Prince went to his 50 off 85 balls and Katich bringing up his 50 off 55 balls, with 8 fours and 2 sixes.
Their fourth wicket partnership had reached 92 until Prince was caught at short cover by Tilan Samaraweera off Graeme Cessford for 52 off 94 balls, with 8 fours, but Katich continued to dominate by hitting Joe Leach for 24 in one over as he went to his century off 86 balls, with 14 fours and 4 sixes.
Although Andrea Agathangelou was lbw to Richardson for 14 the visitors were in a good position at tea, with the score on 268-5 off 64.4 overs.
After tea only 8 balls were bowled, with 3 runs added, when the umpires, Nigel Cowley and Steve O’Shaughnessy, took the players off for rain and bad light and that was to be the final action of the day as the weather showed no signs of improving and at 6pm the umpires called it off for the day.
Worcestershire face a difficult task to salvage a draw as they ended the third day against Lancashire at New Road on 166-5, a lead of just 12 runs.
Lancashire resumed on 271-5 but in the second over of the day they lost Simon Katich for 105 off 91 balls when he steered a Jack Shantry delivery to Tilan Samaraweera in the slips. That was the only highlight for Worcestershire in the morning session as Luke Procter and Tom Smith took Lancashire into the lead as they both scored half-centuries before lunch, with Smith taking 75 balls, with 7 fours, and Procter taking 82 balls, with 7 fours, which was taken with the visitors on 403-6, a lead of 116 runs.
After lunch their seventh wicket partnership ended on 136 when Procter was well caught low down by Jack Shantry at mid-on off Richardson for 76 off 117 balls, with 9 fours and 1 six, and then the innings quickly ended as Richardson (4-102 off 33 overs) got Gareth Cross (0) to edge behind to Ben Cox, who then caught both Kyle Hogg (6) and Tom Smith, 84 off 125 balls, with 11 fours and 1 six, off Graeme Cessford (4 for 73 off 16.2 overs) and Lancashire were all out for 441 off 109.2 overs.
Trailing by 154 runs Worcestershire were soon in trouble at 15-2 when Matt Pardoe (0) was caught behind by Cross off Hogg and Daryl Mitchell, not playing a shot off Glen Chapple, was lbw for 8.
At tea Worcestershire had moved on to 49-2 and then in the evening session Moeen Ali quickly went to his 50 off 63 balls, with 3 fours and 3 sixes, whilst hitting Arron Lilley in one over for 18 runs.
But wickets were falling at the other end as Tilan Samaraweera was adjudged lbw off Tom Smith for 17, Tom Fell was caught at first slip by Smith off Chapple for 11 and when Ross Whiteley was caught at short leg by Andrea Agathangelou off Lilley for 13 the home side were still 7 runs behind on 147-5.
But Worcestershire went ahead thanks to Ali who brought up his century off 134 balls, with 11 fours and 3 sixes, and in doing so becoming the first ever Worcestershire batsman to score a hundred in both innings against Lancashire in first-class cricket and also the first Worcestershire batsman to achieve this feat since Mitchell at Cheltenham in 2010.
Ali remained unbeaten on 101 off 142 balls and nightwatchman Shantry was not out on 10 as Worcestershire have it all to do on the fourth and final day.
Worcestershire succumbed to a nine wicket defeat against Lancashire on the fourth and final day of their LV= County Championship match at New Road.
Worcestershire led by just 12 runs at the start of the day but any hopes of saving the match had practically gone when Moeen Ali departed for 109 off 151 balls, with 12 fours and 3 sixes, when he edged behind to Gareth Cross off Glen Chapple in the fourth over of the day.
Kyle Hogg then removed both Joe Leach (20) and Jack Shantry (31), both caught behind by Cross, and the Lancashire wicketkeeper claimed his fourth victim of the day when Graeme Cessford (11) edged behind off Tom Smith, who then trapped Ben Cox lbw for 11 to leave Worcestershire all out for 241 off 70.4 overs.
Lancashire required 88 runs to win but lost Paul Horton in the third over of the innings when he was caught at point by Matt Pardoe off Cessford before lunch, which was taken with the score on 17-1.
After lunch there was a brief pause for bad light but once the skies got brighter Luis Reece and Ashwell Prince didn’t take long to get to their target as Reece went to his 50 off 44 balls, by hitting a straight six off Moeen Ali, as he finished unbeaten on 56 off 51 balls, with 10 fours and 1 six, and Prince (19*) hit the winning runs to seal a comfortable win for Lancashire, who look destined to go back to the First Division.
WORCESTERSHIRE (287 & 241) LOST TO LANCASHIRE (441 & 88-1) BY 9 WICKETS
Worcestershire Team: Daryl Mitchell*, Matt Pardoe, Moeen Ali, Tilan Samaraweera, Tom Fell, Ross Whiteley, Joe Leach, Ben Cox+, Jack Shantry, Graeme Cessford, Alan Richardson