Middlesex are on the verge of victory after an incredible seventeen wickets fell on the second day of the LV= County Championship match against Durham at Lord’s. After Middlesex lost their last five first innings wickets in gaining a narrow 25 run lead, they bowled out Durham for 171 and needing 147 runs to win, they had reached 103-2 by the close of play. Although the extra half-an-hour could have been claimed to obtain a result in two days, it was not taken with a fine weather forecast for the following day.
In the morning, Middlesex resumed their first innings on 126-5 but it took Durham only 62 balls to take the last five Middlesex wickets. Gareth Berg and Neil Dexter took the total to 136-5 before Dexter got a top-edge to a hook shot against Graham Onions and he was caught at the wicket for 48. Ollie Rayner hooked the first ball he faced for a six over backward square-leg but Onions got his revenge when Rayner was caught down the leg-side by ‘keeper Phil Mustard without adding to his score.
Seven runs came off the next over from Chris Rushworth before Gareth Berg gave Phil Mustard his third catch of the morning when he was caught off Onions’ bowling for 35. Steve Finn got off the mark with a four between the slips and gully before Tim Murtagh hit two thumping cover driven fours off Rushworth. However, Onions struck again when he had Finn caught at third slip by Richardson for four and in his following over, Onions wrapped things up when Murtagh (11) gave Mustard his fourth catch of the morning. Middlesex were 168 all-out in 56.2 overs with Graham Onions taking 5-20 in the morning to finish with figures of 7-62 from 19.2 overs.
Durham lost a wicket in the first over of their second innings when Michael Stoneman was LBW to Tim Murtagh for a fourth ball duck. When Steve Finn had Keaton Jennings well caught by Sam Robson at third slip for two, Durham were 10-2. Steve Borthwick played positively and the arrears were cleared before Tim Murtagh bowled Borthwick for 26 out of a total of 32-3. Ben Stokes joined Will Smith at the wicket and the pair saw Durham to 43-3 at lunch. Tim Murtagh had figures of 2-18 from 7 overs with Steve Finn taking 1-24 in 7 overs.
After lunch, Finn continued to bowl at the Pavilion End with Corey Collymore replacing Murtagh at the Nursery End. Stokes played some fine straight drives with Smith offering solid support and the pair saw off the threat from Finn and Collymore who were replaced by Berg with Neil Dexter trying his luck at the Nursery End. The total advanced to 96-3 after 31 overs before Tim Murtagh returned to bowl at the Pavilion End.
After Stokes scored a single off the second ball of Murtagh’s over, Will Smith top-edged a pull shot straight into the hands of Steve Finn at mid-on to be dismissed for thirty. Corey Collymore then replaced Dexter at the Nursery End and he bowled Paul Collingwood for a first ball duck to reduce Durham to 98-5. Phil Mustard joined Stokes at the wicket and he played positively, hitting Corey Collymore for successive fours. Stokes reached the first fifty of the match (off 92 balls, 8 fours) before Ollie Rayner came on to bowl his off-spin from the Nursery End.
Rayner struck twice in his opening over with Stokes losing his head and being easily stumped by ‘keeper John Simpson for 51 and Richardson was smartly taken by Adam Voges at slip for a second ball duck to reduce Durham to 129-7. Callum Thorp joined Mustard and the pair added a further 25 runs before tea was taken with Durham on 154-7.
Steve Finn, who had bowled five overs without success just before the interval continued his spell after tea and he got the breakthrough in his second over when he bowled Thorp off an inside-edge for 23. Finn struck again in the over when he bowled Graham Onions for a third ball duck. Ollie Rayner wrapped the innings up when he had last man Chris Rushworth caught by Sam Robson at short-leg for two. Mustard was 30 not out in a Durham total of 171. Tim Murtagh had figures of 3-32 from 12 overs with Steve Finn taking 3-56 in 17 overs, Ollie Rayner 3-25 in 5.5 overs and Corey Collymore 1-21 in 9 overs.
Twenty-six overs remained of the day’s play when Sam Robson and Joe Denly set out on the task of making 147 runs for victory. Graham Onions opened the attack with Chris Rushworth and they made life difficult for the Middlesex openers before Sam Robson was caught by Richardson at third slip who had several attempts before catching the ball to dismiss Robson for six to give Rushworth a wicket.
Adam Voges joined Denly with the score on 23-1 in the eighth over of the innings and Denly batted well to score seventeen runs out of a partnership of eighteen before he received an unplayable delivery from Onions which lifted off a length and he was caught by Stokes at cover for 32 (off 33 balls). Eoin Morgan survived a first ball scare when he was hit on the pads, bang in front of his stumps, but umpire Steve O’Shaughnessy had called a no-ball.
The fifty came up in the 14th over with Voges hitting Callum Thorp for two fours in his opening over. After his uncomfortable start, Eoin Morgan began to bat with confidence with Voges looking solid at the other end. The total reached 97-2 with three overs remaining but only a further six runs were added in those overs before Middlesex decided not to take the extra half-hour to finish the match. Adam Voges is 36 not out with Eoin Morgan 24 not out as Middlesex were left needing a further 44 runs to complete the win.
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