After being set an unrealistic target of 304 runs to win in 51 overs, Middlesex made no attempt to go for the runs but slipped from a position of 96-1 to 129-5 in the first over of the final hours’ play and had to battle hard to secure a draw against Durham at the Riverside. They finished on 165-6 and the game ended as a draw with Durham taking eight points and Middlesex six points – a total of 100 overs were lost in the match due to the weather.
In the morning, Durham resumed their second innings on 89-1 with a lead of 152 runs but they lost an early wicket when Jennings was superbly caught by Joe Denly in the gully, off Gareth Berg’s bowling for 35. Will Smith joined Borthwick and the pair were unable to give the innings any impetus against Gareth Berg who conceded just twelve runs in seven overs and James Harris who conceded eighteen runs in seven overs.
Corey Collymore and Toby Roland-Jones then replaced Berg and Harris in the attack and in his third over of the day, Roland-Jones had Smith caught by Dawid Malan at first slip after Smith only succeeded in getting a top-edge to an attempted pull shot, Smith having made 17. Roland-Jones struck again in his following over when he trapped Ben Stokes LBW for four to leave the hosts on 149-5. Paul Collingwood joined Borthwick at the wicket who reached his second fifty of the match, off 102 balls (4 fours). Durham went into lunch on 177-4 with the lead having been extended to 241 runs.
After lunch, Berg and Harris returned to the attack and eight runs came off the first over from Berg. However, in the fourth over after the break Paul Collingwood attempted to upper-cut a James Harris delivery over the slips and he was well caught by Sam Robson who dived forward to take the catch at third man to dismiss Collingwood for eighteen. Although the Durham batsmen were intent on trying to push the scoring rate along, they were held in check by Berg and Harris.
The Durham total reached 200-5 at which point, Phil Mustard holed out to Collymore at mid-off to give Berg a second wicket, Mustard having made just three. Gareth Breese came in to bat and he scored a run-a-ball twenty which included a six off Berg as Durham reached 240-6 at which point, Durham declared. Borthwick finished on 82 not out but it was a fine effort by the Middlesex attack who restricted the hosts to 151 runs from 43 overs on the day. Gareth Berg had figures of 2-66 from 25 overs with James Harris taking 2-83 from 24 overs, Toby Roland-Jones 2-46 from 12 overs and Corey Collymore having figures of 0-36 from 11 overs.
Chasing 304 runs to win in 51 overs, twelve runs came off the first eleven balls before Sam Robson was caught at the wicket off Callum Thorp’s bowling for seven. Joe Denly joined Chris Rogers at the wicket and the pair played out four successive maiden overs to confirm that the run chase was not on. The pair took Middlesex to 41-1 at tea from fifteen overs with Rogers 19 not out and Denly 12 not out.
After tea, Durham brought on Scott Borthwick to bowl his leg-spin in an effort to tempt the batsmen to go on the attack and it worked to a certain extent as both Rogers and Denly hit him for two fours in his first three overs. Rogers reached a 75 ball fifty which contained seven fours, in the 25th over of the innings but in the same over, he was LBW to Matt Wood for 52 to leave Middlesex on 96-2.
The out of form Dawid Malan came in but when he had scored only five, he shouldered arms and lost his off-stump to a Wood delivery. Neil Dexter joined Joe Denly at which point Graham Onions was brought back into the attack to replace Borthwick. The pair took the score to 115-3 before Onions had Dexter caught at the wicket for six. John Simpson hit the last ball of the over through the covers for a four and with Joe Denly taking two fours in an over from Ben Stokes, Middlesex had reached 129-4 by the start of the final hour of sixteen overs.
Graham Onions struck with the third ball of the last hour when he had Simpson caught by Borthwick at second slip for four. Gareth Berg joined Denly who had played solidly and reached a fifty off exactly 100 balls with six fours shortly afterwards. Middlesex got to 157-5 with just five overs remaining but after Denly scored a single off a Matt Wood delivery, Gareth Berg was caught by Jennings at backward square-leg for eight.
James Harris joined Denly and the pair batted solidly to take Middlesex to 165-6 with only three balls of the final hour remaining at which point the match was ended as a draw. Joe Denly was 73 not out off 135 balls (10 fours) with James Harris 1 not out. Matt Wood had figures of 3-36 from 13.3 overs with Graham Onions taking 2-44 from 16 overs and Callum Thorp 1-10 in 7 overs.
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