Riki Wessels made an impressive unbeaten 84 but Worcestershire went down by 10 wickets mid-way through the third day of the Specsavers County Championship match with Northamptonshire at Wantage Road.

Wessels batted with plenty of power and aggression in striking one six and 11 fours in his 91 ball knock.

He came to the wicket at 95-5 and helped the County avoid the innings defeat and total 223 all out.

It left Northamptonshire needing a modest 34 target which they achieved without loss in the fifth over.

Worcestershire were left facing an uphill battle after fine bowling by Brett Hutton and Ben Sanderson on the opening morning.

They were also handicapped by the loss of paceman Josh Tongue to a side strain but Northamptonshire never relinquished their early grip on the game.

Worcestershire played with positive intent throughout the morning session today after resuming on 42-4 and added 143 runs for the loss of four wickets.

Moeen Ali and Club Captain Joe Leach, who came in as nightwatchman yesterday evening, set the tone with a partnership of 66 in just 15.2 overs.

They lifted the total to 95 when Leach (27) swept firmly at spinner Rob Keogh and was lbw for 27.

In the same over Moeen’s assured 40 came to an end after Wessels had tickled a Keogh delivery down to fine leg.

Moeen went looking for a third run and failed to make his ground after Brett Hutton’s throw found the gloves of keeper Adam Rossington.

It became 112-7 when Worcestershire keeper Ben Cox (5) was bowled by a delivery from Dwaine Pretorious which came back in and kept low.

Wessels was full of aggression, twice sweeping Keogh to the boundary and pulling Pretorious for four.

Ed Barnard was an able partner as the eighth wicket pair brought up the half century stand off 63 balls.

Barnard had moved onto 18 when he was lbw deep in his crease to a delivery slanting across him from concussion replacement Blessing Muzarabani at 166-8.

Lunch was delayed by 15 minutes as the umpires felt a positive result could be obtained in that period.

But Wessels had time to complete an excellent half century off just 56 balls with six fours, reaching his fifty with the aid of four overthrows.

By lunch he had moved onto 52 and Wayne Parnell seven out of 185-8 from 54 overs.

Parnell (7) was bowled by another low delivery – this time from Muzarabani.

Wessels had moved to within 16 runs of his century when last man Tongue (2) pushed forward to Keogh and was pouched at first slip.