After Middlesex added a further 51 runs with their last five wickets to gain a first innings lead of 267 runs, Middlesex, with Steve Finn replacing Gurjit Sandhu under the returning England player regulations, reduced Sussex to 45-4 to raise hopes of a three day win. However, Luke Wright who was the Sussex saviour at Lord’s, responded with an innings of 151 not out as Sussex ended the day on 288-6, a lead of 21 runs. With the new ball available after one over in the morning, Middlesex will still hope for a win before lunch on the final day.
In the morning, Middlesex resumed their first innings on 445-5 and John Simpson reached a 99 ball fifty with his seventh four, in the sixth over of the day. Gareth Berg scored a four off Monty Panesar to take the total to 476-5 before Berg holed out to Steve Magoffin at long-off from the next ball. Ollie Rayner joined Simpson at the wicket and the pair added a further seven runs before Simpson was caught at the wicket off Chris Jordan’s bowling for 59.
Ollie Rayner was then LBW attempting a sweep against Monty Panesar without scoring. Tim Murtagh hit Panesar for a six but he was stumped when he attempted a similar stroke off the next ball from Panesar for nine. Panesar wrapped things up when he had Corey Collymore caught at the wicket for a second ball duck as Middlesex were 496 all out. Panesar finished with figures of 5-95 from 31.4 overs.
Although Steve Finn was available to open the bowling for Middlesex, Neil Dexter opted for Tim Murtagh and Corey Collymore to open the attack against the Sussex openers, Luke Wells and Chris Nash. Tim Murtagh struck in the third over of the innings when Nash was caught by Adam Voges at first slip for a duck. Michael Yardy joined Wells and the pair survived together as Sussex reached 31-1 at lunch after twelve overs.
Ten runs were added in four overs after lunch before Steve Finn was brought on to replace Murtagh at the Sea End. Finn struck with his fourth delivery when he had Luke Wells caught by Ollie Rayner at second slip for nineteen Ed Joyce joined Yardy at the wicket but Corey Collymore struck in the following over when he had Yardy caught at the wicket for eighteen. When Finn had Rory Hamilton-Brown caught by Adam Voges in his second over, Sussex were reduced to 45-4, still 222 runs in arrears.
Luke Wright joined his captain and after surviving fourteen balls without scoring, he hit Steve Finn for four successive fours although one was off an edge through the slips. Ed Joyce got an edge in Finn’s next over that Ollie Rayner just got his hands to but was unable to take the difficult chance above his head, the ball going to the boundary. Steve Finn bowled a ten over spell with figures of 2-44 and was a constant threat to the batsmen.
The boundaries continued to flow for Wright as he reached a 58 ball fifty that contained twelve fours but he survived a sharp chance to Sam Robson in the gully off the next ball from Gareth Berg. Joyce and Wright took Sussex to 155-4 after 43 overs before Neil Dexter brought himself on to bowl in place of Ollie Rayner. With his first delivery, Dexter had Ed Joyce caught at the wicket for 47. Ben Brown joined Wright and the pair saw Sussex through to 172-5 at tea with Wright on 67 not out.
Dexter continued his spell of bowling after tea, but Wright hit him for two successive fours in the first over, Brown offered him good support and the two hundred came up in the 60th over. Wright, who had scored an undefeated 187 against Middlesex at Lord’s, reached his hundred with his twentieth four (off just 127 balls). The pair took Sussex to 252-5 before Gareth Berg replaced Finn in the attack. Ben Brown hit Berg for successive fours before Adam Voges held a brilliant diving catch at first slip to dismiss Brown for 38.
Chris Jordan joined Wright who took his toil of a tiring Middlesex attack and hit Dexter for a straight six before getting a single off the last ball of Dexter’s over to bring up his 150 (off 165 balls, 1 six & 24 fours) in the penultimate over of the day. Wright scored a single in the final over of the day to end on 151 not out in a Sussex total of 288-6.
Steve Finn had figures of 2-74 from 18 overs with Tim Murtagh taking 1-49 in 18 overs, Corey Collymore 1-39 in 15 overs, Gareth Berg 1-50 in 10 overs and Neil Dexter 1-36 in 10 overs.
To read reports from other days of this match please CLICK HERE (then click MORE INFO next to the Fixtures, then MATCH REPORT)
To keep up to date with Middlesex County Cricket Club news and updates! Click here to visit our page or click the like button below to like us.