Middlesex suffered an eight wicket defeat in the LV= County Championship match against Sussex at Hove. On an unreliable wicket, Middlesex lost their last eight second innings wickets in adding 119 runs to leave the hosts needing just 95 runs for victory.
In the morning, Middlesex resumed their innings on 92-2 needing a further 25 runs to clear first innings arrears. Night-watchman Toby Roland-Jones scored ten runs off a Magoffin over but after being missed by Wells at second slip in Magoffin’s following over, Roland-Jones was caught at the wicket, next ball, for twenty.
Dawid Malan joined Sam Robson at the wicket and the pair cleared the arrears before Amjad Khan returned to bowl at the Cromwell Road End. The total advanced to 132-3 before Khan had Sam Robson caught at the wicket for 36. Neil Dexter joined Malan and Dexter was missed by Luke Wells at first slip before he had scored.
Dawid Malan was fifth man out when he attempted a reverse sweep against Monty Panesar which Chris Nash anticipated well and took a superb catch at short-leg to dismiss Malan for eighteen. Amjad Khan was generating fast bounce and lift and he took wickets in successive overs when he had John Simpson (3) caught by Michael Yardy at second slip and Gareth Berg (1) caught at the wicket.
Ollie Rayner joined Neil Dexter with Middlesex on 153-7 and they added a further 24 runs as Middlesex reached 177-7 at lunch; Monty Panesar bowled his left-arm spin at the Sea End throughout the session.
Ollie Rayner, who was batting with an injured left hand, was hit on the helmet by a Magoffin delivery in the fourth over after lunch. After treatment, Rayner continued his innings but after hitting Anyon for a boundary he was caught at the wicket for nine to leave Middlesex on 197-8.
Neil Dexter had played well in reaching forty before he gave Ben Brown a sixth catch at the wicket when he was caught off Anyon . Tim Murtagh was caught off a no-ball from Anyon but he was bowled next ball as Middlesex were 211 all-out. Amjad Khan had figures of 3-39 from 15 overs with James Anyon taking 3-45 from 10.3 overs, Steve Magoffin 2-56 from 19 overs and Monty Panesar 2-49 from 24 overs.
Ed Joyce and Chris Nash opened the Sussex innings needing just 95 runs to win but Ed Joyce was hit by a Toby Roland-Jones delivery in the second over before Chris Nash (5) was caught by Neil Dexter at first slip off Tim Murtagh’s bowling to give Middlesex hope. Joyce hit Roland-Jones for successive fours and with Luke Wells taking two fours in the following over from Tim Murtagh, Sussex reached 37-1 after nine overs.
Joyce was struck again on the chest by a Roland-Jones’ delivery but the fifty came up in the twelfth over. Wells hit an Ollie Rayner delivery uppishly to cover where Joe Denly almost pulled off a brilliant catch. The score reached 67-1 before Ollie Rayner held a good returned catch to dismiss Joyce for 35. Murray Goodwin joined Wells and the pair saw Sussex to 68-2 at tea.
After tea, it took Sussex only 27 balls to reach the target with Goodwin scoring three fours in an Ollie Rayner over before Wells scoring the winning boundary as Sussex completed their win with a day to spare. Wells was 29 not out with Goodwin 19 not out.
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Middlesex CCC have fond memories of playing first-class cricket at Hove. In our last 4-day match there in 2010 we won a wonderful game of cricket with Dawid Malan seeing us over the line with a superb unbeaten hundred.
Something similar would be greatly appreciated this time round too.
To achieve this we will need to play very good cricket as Sussex enter the game on a winning streak and with confidence, undoubtedly, high. Sussex are a strong side at home, they know how to play at Hove, and we will need to be prepared for a hard scrap. The forecast looks pretty good so we can look forward to a good weekend of cricket.
We enter the game in good shape after a strong performance against Warwickshire at Uxbridge. It was good to see us post a sizeable first innings score of 400+ against probably the best side in the country and doing the same here would place us in a very strong position. Most pleasing was seeing Dawid and Neil Dexter play substantial innings in the match. Hopefully those innings will kick off a strong finish to the season for the pair.
At Uxbridge we bowled with real discipline and a similar display is required here. If we can do that we will really test Sussex's batting.
For the game we will be without Eoin Morgan, who is captaining Engand Lions against Australia A. Eoin's absence allows Sam Robson to make a swift return to the 1st XI. Sam scored a hundred in the 2nd XI at Canterbury a week ago and, again, it is hoped the innings kick starts a strong finish to the season for him too.
Tom Smith travels and we will wait to see what type of pitch we are playing on before selecting our starting eleven.
Middlesex are pleased to announce the following 13-man squad for the LV= County Championship match against Sussex at Hove, starting tomorrow, Friday 10 August at 11am:
Chris Rogers (captain) Gareth Berg Steven Crook Corey Collymore Joe Denly Neil Dexter Dawid Malan Tim Murtagh Ollie Rayner Sam Robson Toby Roland-Jones John Simpson Tom Smith