Wells claims career-best bowling figures as Northants collapse to another innings defeat
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Wells though had other ideas as the Steelbacks were bowled out for 266 to lose by an innings and 26 runs.
Lewis McManus (24) and Saif Zaib (45) extended their overnight partnership to 56 against the spin of Wells and Tom Hartley as the visitors waited to take the new ball.
McManus chipped Hartley over midwicket for four, but his long vigil finally ended after 82 balls when he turned Wells to George Bell at short leg who took an excellent catch.
Northants then started to implode with Wells picking up a second wicket when Zaib chased a wide one, Phil Salt taking the catch behind the stumps.
Wells soon had a third thanks to a stunning left-handed catch off his own bowling to remove Tom Taylor (4) before Jack White (6) then slashed him to Keaton Jennings at slip.
Ben Sanderson was determined to go down fighting, smashing two fours and thumping Hartley over the Family Stand at long-on for six before he became Wells’ fifth wicket, caught at mid-off with Northants leaving the field after just 50 minutes of play.
The defeat leaves the County 23 points adrift of safety in the Division One table, with just three matches to play.