Middlesex moved into third place in the LV= County Championship following a ten wicket win over Lancashire at Lord’s. An early finish was on the cards when Middlesex reduced the visitors to 45-5 but Ashwell Prince and Jos Buttler dug-in and Middlesex had to wait until just before tea for the next wicket. Tim Murtagh was the inspiration behind the success, taking 6-60 in 26.2 overs as Lancashire were dismissed for 223 to leave Middlesex needing just 31 runs to win.
In the morning, Lancashire resumed their second innings on 15-1, still needing 178 runs to make Middlesex bat again. Only four runs came in the first six overs of the day against the bowling of Tim Murtagh and Toby Roland-Jones before Tim Murtagh had night-watchman Simon Kerrigan caught at the wicket by ‘keeper John Simpson for five. Paul Horton was dropped by Simpson in the following over from Roland-Jones but Roland-Jones struck in his next over when he trapped Karl Brown LBW for a duck.
Ashwell Prince joined Horton who scored successive boundaries in Tim Murtagh’s 11th over and the pair took the total to 45-3 before Steve Finn, who had replaced Roland-Jones at the Pavilion End, had Paul Horton LBW for 32 and in Finn’s following over, he had Luke Proctor caught at the wicket by John Simpson for a duck to reduce Lancashire to 45-5. Jos Buttler joined Prince and the pair battled through to lunch on 66-5 with Neil Dexter conceding just 10 runs in a seven over spell of bowling from the Nursery End.
Tim Murtagh returned to the attack immediately after lunch with Ollie Rayner bowling his off-spin at the Pavilion End. Prince found his form, scoring four fours as he and Buttler brought up the Lancashire hundred in the 52nd over. Toby Roland-Jones and Steve Finn were brought back into the attack in an attempt to get a breakthrough but Buttler scored ten runs in Finn’s second over. When Neil Dexter replaced Roland-Jones at the Nursery End, Prince scored two successive fours to bring up a 121 ball fifty which included eight fours.
The total reached 140-5 after 64 overs at which point Dawid Malan was brought on to bowl but Buttler struck his first two deliveries for fours as Malan conceded fifteen runs in a two over spell of leg-breaks. Buttler reached his second fifty of the match shortly before tea, off 118 balls (7 fours) but when Tim Murtagh returned to the attack in place of Malan, Buttler was missed by ‘keeper John Simpson. Fortunately for Middlesex, Buttler got an edge to the last ball of Murtagh’s over and Dawid Malan took the catch to dismiss Buttler for exactly fifty. Ashwell Prince then played out a maiden over from Finn before Tim Murtagh had Tom Smith caught at the wicket by John Simpson for a duck and Lancashire went into tea on 162-7.
Lancashire skipper Glen Chapple joined Prince after tea and after Chapple got off the mark with a four off Murtagh, Ashwell Prince scored three fours in Steve Finn’s first over after the break. Chapple batted in a forthright manner, scoring six boundaries as the total reached 213-7 after 78 overs. Ashwell Prince had batted with great determination and it was a surprise when he chased a Tim Murtagh delivery and he was caught at the wicket to give John Simpson his fourth catch of the innings, Prince having made 86 off 171 balls.
Kyle Hogg joined Chapple and the new ball was taken after eighty overs with Lancashire on 218-8. Toby Roland-Jones had replaced Finn at the Pavilion End and it was he who got the ninth wicket when he trapped Chapple LBW for 32. Tim Murtagh then wrapped things up in the next over when he bowled Hogg for four as Lancashire were all-out for 223. Tim Murtagh took four wickets in an 8.2 over spell either side of tea to finish with figures of 6-60 in 26.2 overs with Toby Roland-Jones taking 2-30 in 16 overs and Steve Finn 2-65 in 19 overs.
Left with just 31 runs needed for victory in nineteen overs, Sam Robson and Chris Rogers raced to the target in only 3.5 overs, aided by four no-balls from the Lancashire bowlers. Robson scored four fours in making 19 not out with Chris Rogers, who only faced seven balls, 3 not out.
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