v Lancashire 19-22 Sep

Match Report Specsavers County Championship 19 September 2017






Fifteen wickets fell during an all-action opening day that despite its
thrills and spills fell short in terms of application and technique as
Division One rivals Middlesex and Lancashire crossed swords in the
Specsavers County Championship at Lord’s.

Responding in the day’s third session to a Middlesex all-out total of
233, Lancashire went in at stumps on 113 for five after 34 overs -
still trailing by 120 runs.

Having dismissed the hosts inside 62 overs and two sessions,
Lancashire went out after tea to lose both openers to consecutive
deliveries and with only 22 on the board. Haseeb Hameed was trapped
lbw by Toby Roland-Jones, then, to the first ball of Tim Murtagh’s
next over, Alex Davies padded up to a straight one to also go leg

Dane Vilas scored only five before a shooting Murtagh off-cutter crept
between bat and pad to rearrange the stumps, then Steven Finn enticed
Liam Livingstone with a short one well outside off that the
right-hander cut straight into the hands of Nick Compton at backward

Red rose skipper Steven Croft and ‘crab-like’ veteran Shiv Chanderpaul
dug in for 10 overs in adding 39 until Roland-Jones returned at the
Pavilion End to have Chanderpaul well held in the cordon by Voges for
the final wicket of the day. Moreover, Roland-Jones left the field for
treatment soon afterwards.

The day started with two surprise decisions by Middlesex who, after
dropping their skipper James Franklin, then elected to bat first after
acting captain Adam Voges won the toss.

Having seen extensive cracks to the surface of this Lord’s pitch,
Voges clearly didn’t fancy the task of batting last. Yet, going in
first hardly proved a walk in the park either as the hosts skid to 28
for four.

Compton’s was dismissed by with a second ball duck to
the eighth ball of the game. Jumping back and across his stumps and
working to leg, the deposed England opener missed to be sent packing
lbw to Ryan McLaren.

The South Africa all-rounder struck again in his third over,
dismissing Sam Robson with a lifting leg-cutter that Robson duly
followed and feathered to the keeper Davies.

Stevie Eskinazi fenced to third slip against Tom Bailey, who also
accounted for Dawid Malan on the cheap. Caught on the crease, the
left-hander came down late on a ‘fourth stump line’ delivery that slid
through the gate leaving umpire Neil Mallender to uphold the appeal
for caught behind. Malan trudged off shaking his head and clearly
believing he had missed it.

Dropped on 12 by Davies off the bowling of Bailey, John Simpson
combined with fifth-wicket partner Voges to add 52 either side of
lunch before the latter, prodding half-forward and outside the line of
an off-cutter, went lbw for 18.

McLaren struck next, setting up James Harris perfectly with a brace of
big out-swingers followed by an off-cutter that trimmed the top of off
stump as Harris shouldered arms.

Bailey enjoyed a fourth victory when Simpson, on 29, top-edged an
attempted pull for Davies to sprint toward backward square leg and
pull off a spectacular, full-length diving catch.

Middlesex finished in a stronger vein when
Lancashire’s seamers lost their radar for an hour or so, enabling
Ollie Rayner and Roland-Jones to counter-punch with an eighth-wicket
stand worth 102 that took the hosts to the brink of their sole batting
bonus point.

The introduction of Matt Parkinson’s leg-spin hardly fazed the pair as
Roland-Jones cantered to a 68-ball 50 with 10 fours. But, soon after
the England all-rounder missed a leg-stump ball from Kyle Jarvis to be
sent packing lbw by umpire Martin Saggers.

Bailey claimed a fifth scalp when Finn played across an angled
delivery, but Rayner continued to thrive in reaching his half-century
from 71 balls and with seven boundaries. He was unbeaten on 52 when
last man Murtagh, having slogged feisty 18, miscued to mid-on to give
McLaren four for 63, figures that were only bettered by Bailey with
five for 54.


MIDDLESEX 233 a/o & 152 a/o

LANCASHIRE 165 a/o & 46/1


There could be a tense finish to the Specsavers County Championship match between Middlesex and Lancashire at Lord’s.

Lancashire, requiring 221 to win, are 46 for one at the end of the second day, requiring another 175 to win. Middlesex had the edge – a thin edge - when Lancashire started to bat again on a bowler-friendly surface. But at stumps on Wednesday both sides were convinced they could win.

Middlesex are desperate for a victory, while Lancashire want a strong finish after missing out on the championship.

To make life more difficult for Middlesex they will be without their England fast bowler Toby Roland-Jones for the rest of the match. Roland-Jones had a scan on his stiff back on Wednesday but it proved inconclusive. He will have further tests on Thursday. He batted on the second day, but was unable to bowl.

Lancashire resumed on 133 for five on the second morning and were bowled out for 165, with Tim Murtagh claiming four for 49. That gave Middlesex a first innings advantage of 68, a meaningful lead in a low-scoring match.

When Middlesex batted again they soon lost Nick Compton, who was caught behind for nine. Then Stevie Eskinazi was bowled out by Tom Bailey and they looked distinctly wobbly at 16 for two, just 84 runs ahead.

It didn’t get any easier for the batsmen. Top scorer Sam Robson (58) and Dawid Malan established a partnership but then the players took an early tea because of bad light, with the score on 54 for two. And with the first delivery after the break Ryan McLaren had Malan lbw for 18.

Acting captain Adam Voges had made just five when he got a thick edge to one from Jordan Clark and the ball just carried to Ryan McLaren took a tumbling catch in the gully. That made it 79 for four.

Robson completed a dogged fifty from 87 balls, with six fours. But then he pulled Bailey to deep backward square-leg where Kyle Jarvis pulled off a marvellous two-handed catch, diving to his right.

Jarvis then pulled off another excellent catch, this time low down at extra-cover, to send back John Simpson for a gutsy 33; 130 for six. And without addition James Harris was seventh out in the next over, lbw to Jarvis.

Roland-Jones was unable to reprise his first innings heroics and Middlesex were all out for 152, with Bailey taking five for 44, to set up a classic finish.



MIDDLESEX 233 a/o & 152 a/o

LANCASHIRE 165 a/o & 184 a/o


Middlesex paceman Steven Finn returned his first five-wicket
championship haul since April 2014 to steer Middlesex to a crucial
36-run win over Lancashire with a day to spare at Lord’s.

Finn bagged eight for 79 and nine in the match to help his side to edge a close finish and post only their third win of a disappointing Specsavers County Championship campaign.

With fellow bowlers Toby Roland-Jones and Ollie Rayner out of the
attack, nursing side and knee injuries respectively, it fell to
28-year-old Finn to lead the home attack on a Lord’s pitch that
offered him plenty of assistance.

Chasing 221 for victory, Lancashire resumed on their overnight total
of 46 for one but were soon deep in trouble after losing three wickets
for 13 runs in the opening half hour.

Finn plucked out Liam Livingstone’s off stump and then trapped Steven
Croft flush in front to win the lbw appeal with an off-cutter that
virtually shot along the floor.

Wily seamer Tim Murtagh chipped in with the vital scalp of Shiv
Chanderpaul. Playing back and across to one that pitched on and
straightened, the veteran West Indies left-hander played outside the
line leaving Neil Mallender little choice but to raise the trigger

After taking almost 40 minutes to add to his overnight score, deposed
England bat Haseeb Hameed moved on to 23 before taking a blow on the
right-hand from Middlesex swing bowler James Harris. Haseeb received
lengthy treatment in the middle but duly retired, to be replaced by
Ryan McLaren.

There was a second injury of the session soon after when Rayner, the
off-spinner, limped out of the attack having seemingly picked up an
injury to his right knee, leaving Middlesex with only three, fully-fit
front-line bowlers on the park.

Finn returned at the Pavilion End just before lunch to have Vilas (37)
caught behind after gloving a leg-stump bouncer through to the keeper
when attempting to hook.

Jordan Clark and McLaren emerged from the Pavilion to play with more
positivity at the start of the mid-session, Clark driving straight
against Murtagh then leaning back to steer a short one from Finn to
the ropes at third man.

Finn had the last laugh however, drawing Clark into an injudicious
waft outside off that Clark edged low to the keeper to make it 150 for
six and give Finn his first five-wicket haul in first-class cricket
since he returned six for 79 against Australia in the 2015 Ashes

The red rose county continued to wilt as Toby Bailey worked across the
line to a Harris in-swinger to go lbw then Adam Voges leapt two-handed
at slip to catch Kyle Jarvis and gift Finn another scalp.

With Haseeb still incapacitated, last man Matt Parkinson marched out
to add 25 in tandem with McLaren (37) until the latter, in attempting
to steer a short one from Finn over the cordon was superbly held
one-handed by Rayner at second slip, who despite moving to his left,
threw up his right hand to cling on to a stinging chance.

With 38 still needed Haseeb, unbeaten on 23, emerged from the dressing
room to bat again but Finn was not to be beaten. He dug one in to have
Parkinson fence one low to Adam Voges at slip whose catch was upheld
once the umpires conferred.

Middlesex banked 20 points for their victory, while Lancashire
travelled home with only three after suffering their third defeat of
the summer.

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