On a very flat Lord’s pitch, Middlesex has to settle for ten points from their LV= County Championship match as they encountered stern resistance from Sussex. At lunch, Sussex were just 27 runs ahead and although Tim Murtagh took the seventh Sussex wicket with the first ball after lunch, a magnificent career best innings of 187 from Luke Wright, and with good support from Will Beer, it was not until 16.54pm that Middlesex took the last Sussex wicket. Needing to score 178 runs in just twenty overs, Middlesex made 50-3 from eight overs before an honourable draw was agreed.
In the morning, Sussex resumed their second innings on 228-4, still needing 49 runs to avoid an innings defeat. Luke Wright, who began the day on 48 not out, reached a 93 ball fifty (5 fours) in the fifth over of the morning. Ollie Rayner continued bowling his off-spin at the Pavilion End with James Harris and then Toby Roland-Jones trying to get the breakthrough at the Nursery End. Ed Joyce did get an edge to a Rayner delivery in the 72nd over but Neil Dexter was unable to grasp the sharp chance.
After an hour, the new ball was taken as soon as it became available, and the arrears were cleared in the first over with the new ball. However, in the third over with the new ball, Ed Joyce flashed at a Tim Murtagh delivery and disappointingly for Joyce, he was well caught by Ollie Rayner at second slip for 98, his third dismissal of the season in the nineties. Ben Brown joined Wright and the pair added a further fifteen runs before James Harris, who shared the new ball with Murtagh, surprised Brown (3) with a sharply rising delivery which Brown was only able to fend it off to Adam London who took the catch at cover. Chris Jordan got off the mark with a two, first ball and with Wright, took Sussex into lunch on 304-6 with Wright on 91 not out.
Immediately after lunch, Chris Jordan was caught at the wicket off Tim Murtagh for three to give Middlesex hope of victory with the visitors’ only 27 runs ahead. However Will Beer, who batted for 149 minutes at number nine in the Sussex first innings, again offered stern resistance. Wright, who scored 77 in the Sussex first innings, reached a deserved hundred in the 101st over with his twelfth four, off 179 balls.
The Sussex pair had frustrated Middlesex in reaching 366-7 at 3.00pm and Joe Denly was brought on to bowl his occasional leg-breaks at the Pavilion End with James Harris returning to bowl at the Nursery End. The pair added 28 runs in four overs before Ollie Rayner returned at the Pavilion End to have Beer brilliantly caught by Gareth Berg at leg slip for 39 (off 102 balls). Steve Magoffin joined Wright who reached his 150 (off 226 balls, 19 fours) just before tea which came with Sussex on 412-8 with 37 overs of the match remaining.
Tim Murtagh returned to the attack straight after tea and in his second over, Luke Wright lofted a shot over mid-off and Chris Rogers ran back and almost took a brilliant catch with the ball coming over his shoulder. Wright then launched an attack by taking eleven runs off Tim Murtagh’s 24th over and hitting three fours in the next over from Ollie Rayner. The Sussex lead had extended to 170 with only 27 overs remaining when Joe Denly replaced Murtagh at the Nursery End.
After Wright hit the first ball of the over for a four, Wright went down the track to the fifth ball of the over but missed the ball and John Simpson was left with an easy stumping; Wright was out for 187 off 276 balls (25 fours). Last man Chris Liddle joined Magoffin but it took Middlesex a further 25 balls to get the last wicket when Magoffin (7) was caught at short mid-wicket by Tim Murtagh to give Denly a second wicket as Sussex were 454 all-out and leaving Middlesex needing 178 runs to win with only 20 overs of the match remaining.
On an unresponsive pitch, the Middlesex bowled stuck well to their task with Tim Murtagh taking 3-74 from 26 overs, James Harris 3-112 from 29 overs, Joe Denly 2-47 from 11 overs, Ollie Rayner 1-118 from 42 overs with Toby Roland-Jones having figures of 0-68 from 19 overs.
Middlesex opened the batting with Joe Denly moving up from number three to join Chris Rogers, Only three singles came off the opening over from Steve Magoffin but twelve runs were scored off the second over, bowled by Liddle. After a further eight runs came off the third over, Chris Rogers scored a single off the first ball of Liddle’s next over but Denly was brilliantly caught at the wicket by the diving Ben Brown off the next ball, Denly having made fourteen.
Neil Dexter joined Rogers and the last hour of sixteen overs was called with Middlesex needing a further 152 runs to win. After thirteen runs were scored off the next two overs, Neil Dexter was brilliantly caught at the wicket by ‘keeper Ben Brown who leapt off the ground to take the catch off Magoffin’s bowling, Dexter having scored four runs. Eight runs were scored off the remaining five balls of the over but when Gareth Berg (5) was LBW to the last ball of the following over from Liddle, the run chase was called-off with Middlesex on 50-3 after eight overs; Chris Rogers was 27 not out.
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