Wickets continued to tumble on the second day of the LV= County Championship match against Durham at the Riverside with a total of eighteen wickets falling in the day.
The wicket continued to offer variable bounce and movement off the seam and after Middlesex gained a first innings lead of 83 runs, Durham were staring a two-day defeat in the face when they were reduced to 119-7 in their second innings. However some aggressive batting by Scott Borthwick and Callum Thorp saw the hosts reach exactly 200 all-out to leave Middlesex needing 118 runs to win. In reply, Middlesex lost both of their openers without a run on the board and slipped to 38-5 before night-watchman Toby Roland-Jones and John Simpson took Middlesex to 58-5 at the close of play.
In the morning, Middlesex added a further 39 runs with their remaining three wickets. Tim Murtagh joined Gareth Berg who was 30 not out overnight and the pair added 33 runs for the eighth wicket with Tim Murtagh receiving most of the bowling before Gareth Berg was caught at the wicket off Thorp for 37. Toby Roland-Jones joined Murtagh who was next to go when he was caught at the wicket off Onions’ bowling for 25.
After Roland-Jones played out a maiden over from Thorp, Graham Onions wrapped things up when he had Steve Finn caught at the wicket for a first ball duck. Roland-Jones was five not out in a Middlesex total of 185 all-out; Onions had figures of 3-38 from 16.1 overs, Ben Stokes 3-44 from 19 overs and Callum Thorp 3-50 from 17 overs.
Thirty-eight minutes remained for Durham to bat before lunch against Tim Murtagh and the hostile Steve Finn. After Will Smith pulled the first legitimate ball from Finn for six over deep square-leg (Finn’s first delivery was a wide), Smith was out two balls later when he was caught at second slip by Ollie Rayner for seven. Middlesex took their second wicket of the session when Tim Murtagh had Stoneman caught at the wicket for fourteen. Muchall and Stokes survived until lunch withDurhamreaching 32-2 after nine overs.
Finn struck again with the second ball after lunch when he bowled Muchall for four with a delivery that kept low. Benkenstein joined Stokes and the pair added a breezy 36 runs off 33 balls before Stokes was out when he top-edged a pull against Roland-Jones and Joe Denly took the catch to dismiss Stokes for fourteen. Paul Collingwood and Benkenstein took the hosts to 99-4 before Tim Murtagh who had replaced Roland-Jones after five overs at the Lumley end, had Benkenstein caught at first slip by Dawid Malan for 37.
Collingwood and Richardson then took the total to 114-5 before Roland-Jones, who had returned at the Lumley end, had Collingwood LBW for fourteen. Roland-Jones struck again in his following over when he bowled Richardsonf or eight with another ball that kept low. A shower of rain then arrived with Durham on 119-7 and an early tea was taken with Durham only 36 runs ahead.
Play resumed after a delay of 52 minutes which resulted in the loss of five overs from the day’s allocation. Callum Thorp joined Borthwick and the pair went about the bowling immediately with Borthwick taking four fours in two Steve Finn overs and Thorp hitting Roland-Jones for four fours in an over. The score reached 160-7 before Thorp hit Finn for a further four and he gained a five off the next ball, courtesy of four overthrows. The pair had added sixty runs off just fifty balls when Tim Murtagh had Thorp caught at the wicket for 36 (off 24 balls, 7 fours).
Steve Finn bowled Graham Onions for four but the last wicket pair of Scott Borthwick and Rushworth added a further fourteen runs before Rushworth was caught by Rogers at wide mid-on off Steve Finn’s bowling for five as Durham were 200 all-out. Borthwick was 41 not out (off 50 balls, 8 fours); Steve Finn had figures of 4-80 from 15.5 overs with Tim Murtagh taking 3-41 from 14 overs and Toby Roland-Jones 3-54 from 9 overs.
Twenty-four overs remained when Middlesex openers Sam Robson and Chris Rogers began the innings with 118 runs needed for victory. However, Sam Robson was out to the third ball of the innings when he got an edge to an Onions’ delivery and Borthwick pocketed the catch at second slip. When Rogers cut Rushworth straight to Will Smith at cover, Middlesex had lost both openers without a run on the board.
Dawid Malan joined Joe Denly at the wicket and they took Middlesex to 26-2 before Malan, who had scored three fours in an innings of fifteen, was LBW to Rushworth without playing a shot. Rushworth had further success when he nipped one back to trap Eoin Morgan LBW for two to leave Middlesex on 30-4. John Simpson got off the mark with a boundary off Rushworth before Denly was missed by Ben Stokes at extra-cover.
Denly and Simpson took Middlesex to 38-4 before Denly was caught by Borthwick at second slip for sixteen off Callum Thorp’s bowling. Toby Roland-Jones came in as a night-watchman and he did a good job in protecting John Simpson who only faced one ball in four overs. Roland-Jones scored five runs off the remainder of Thorp’s over before he hit Onions for two straight fours in the next over. The pair took Middlesex to 58-5 at the close of play and needing a further sixty runs for victory, a tense finish on the third day is in prospect.
To read the match report from day 1 CLICK HERE (then click MORE INFO next to the match in question).
It goes without saying that this is an important game for us. The good thing about this summer is that it is likely every game from now til the end of the season is important, which is because we still have plenty to play for.
Last week’s LV=CC results saw us drop from 3rd to 5th place in Division One although we do have games in hand on most of the teams above us. It would be nice to go back above a couple this week.
Durham may be bottom of the table but they remain a strong and dangerous side, and we know we need to be at our best to defeat them. They are in a position where they have to go for it, which makes them extremely dangerous.
We have to make sure we make a good, quick start. We have shown huge character in salvaging strong draws from games we have started poorly in but this week we need to start well. If we can do that, as we did in matches against Worcestershire, Sussex and Somerset, we can then take control of and hopefully dominate games.
Having Steven Finn in our side naturally increases our chances of putting in a strong performance but the rest of the team must ensure they perform too. There have been excellent displays this season from several players but we need those who are yet to find their best to stand up too over the coming weeks.
The team travelled up on Wednesday to practice on Thursday before the match begins on Friday.
Middlesex are pleased to announce the following 13-man squad to play in this LV= County Championship match against Durham at Emirates Durham ICG starting tomorrow, Friday 27 July:
Chris Rogers (captain)
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