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Fri 13 April
Middlesex
Middlesex
-
Northamptonshire
Northamptonshire

Specsavers County Championship Division Two
Venue: Lord's
Duration: 4 days

Result: Middlesex won by 160 runs

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CLOSE OF PLAY - DAY THREE

Match Result - Middlesex win by 160 runs

Middlesex 20 points

Northamptonshire 3 points

Tim Murtagh and James Harris grabbed four wickets apiece as Middlesex launched their Specsavers County Championship campaign with victory over Northamptonshire inside two and a half days.

Murtagh returned figures of 4-36, with Harris taking 4-39 to clean up the Northants second innings for 142 and secure a 160-run success for their side at Lord’s.

A half-century partnership between Rob Newton and skipper Alex Wakely gave the visitors a flicker of hope in pursuit of a daunting 302 but, once they had been parted, the floodgates opened.

Victory always looked a tall order for Northants, who resumed in the morning at 9-0 – with a further 294 required on a pitch that had seen 26 wickets fall the previous day.

The odds lengthened when they lost Ben Duckett (9) to the fifth ball of the morning, fending off a rising delivery from Murtagh to short-leg.

Brett Hutton (6) was promoted to three, with clear instructions to throw the bat, and immediately smote Murtagh back over his head to the boundary.

But he perished later in the same over, having another swing outside off stump – and Northants slumped to 44-3 when Harris pinned Luke Proctor (8) leg before.

Although Murtagh repeatedly beat the outside edge, Newton (44) and Wakely (26) went for their shots and kept the scoreboard ticking over as they added 51 for the fourth wicket.

Toby Roland-Jones, returning for his second spell of the morning, ended the stand by persuading Newton – who had been dropped in the gully the previous over – to slash outside off stump.

And the introduction of Middlesex medium-pacer Hilton Cartwright for his first spell in county cricket proved to be inspired as the Australian trapped Wakely lbw with only his fourth delivery.

Richard Levi and Adam Rossington guided Northants to the lunch interval at 124-5, but by that stage Middlesex’s victory seemed only a matter of time.

In fact, it took the home side just another 38 balls to blow away the Northamptonshire lower order, with Murtagh swiftly sending Rossington back to the pavilion, leg before for 2.

Harris, who had demolished Northants with a five-wicket haul in their first innings, stepped up his claim for another by removing Levi (23) and Doug Bracewell (6), both to slip catches.

The Middlesex man collected his fourth scalp of the innings by taking a skier off his own bowling to dismiss Josh Cobb (7) and leave the visitors on the brink.

But it was Murtagh who polished Northants off in the next over, winning an lbw appeal against Ben Sanderson (0) – and immediately raising his hand to Harris in a gesture of apology for denying him the five-for.

Match report provided by ECB Reporters Network

LUNCH - DAY THREE

Northants 124-5

Hilton Cartwright picked up his first wicket in English cricket as Middlesex closed in on victory against Northamptonshire at Lord’s.

The Australian international’s fourth delivery trapped Northants captain Alex Wakely lbw for 26 just before lunch to keep Middlesex in control as the visitors chased 303 for victory.

Resuming on 9-0, Northants soon lost Ben Duckett (9) and Brett Hutton (6) to Tim Murtagh, while James Harris pinned Luke Proctor (8) in front of his stumps.

Wakely and Rob Newton (44) boosted their side’s hopes with a partnership of 51, but Toby Roland-Jones had the latter caught behind in his second spell of the morning.

And Wakely’s dismissal left Northants in trouble as they reached lunch on 124-5.

Match report provided by ECB Reporters Network

END OF PLAY - DAY TWO

Middlesex 214 & 159

Northants 71 & 9-0

JAMES HARRIS starred with bat and ball and there was a landmark moment for Tim Murtagh as Middlesex wrestled control from Northants on a day when 26 wickets fell at Lord’s.

Harris followed a gutsy unbeaten 46 with 5-9 for the 2016 County Champions looking for an immediate return to domestic cricket’s top tier following relegation last season.

The post-day drinks though may be on Tim Murtagh who celebrated his 700th first-class wicket as Northants were routed for 71 in just 21.2 overs.

It gave Sam Robson’s side a 143-run first-innings lead despite losing their last six wickets for 78 in an elongated pre-lunch session.

Middlesex were in turn shot out for 159 second time round, 47 of which came in a 10th wicket frolic involving Murtagh (31) and Tom Helm, leaving Northants 304 to win.

Northants began the day with their noses in front, a grip tightened when Ben Sanderson dismissed overnight batsmen Paul Stirling (44) and John Simpson (32) in successive overs.

The visitors then didn’t help their cause, dropping two catches and Harris escaped again when Brett Hutton fumbled a run-out opportunity with the Welshman well short of his ground.

Hutton responded magnificently, completing a five-wicket haul, but Harris made the most of his lives, hitting 46 to guide Middlesex to 214 all out and a precious batting point.

Drama-a-plenty followed after lunch, Murtagh pinning Rob Newton LBW second ball of the Northants reply.

Luke Proctor and Ben Duckett soon followed to leave the visitors 9-3, before Harris ended a brief counter-attack by bowling Richard Levi (20) off the inside edge.

So, began a spell of 3-0 for the ex-Glamorgan quick and Murtagh (4-27) weighed in with two more from the Nursery End, the second of which saw him castle Josh Cobb for a duck, the wicket which ensures his wallet will be in play in The Tavern tonight.

Northants were in disarray at 41-8 and while Hutton’s 18 ensured the follow-on was saved he completed Harris’ fifer driving a catch back to the bowler.

Robson fell early as Middlesex begun again, but Robbie White survived the prospect of a king pair on Championship debut and for a while batting looked a healthier occupation.

This wicket’s thirst for victims wasn’t quenched however and Max Holden’s dismissal for 33 heralded another collapse, four wickets falling for three runs in 25 balls, Bracewell (3-31) the chief destroyer.

Proctor (3-38) also claimed three scalps as the procession to and from the pavilion continued until Murtagh’s late onslaught.

Northants had nine overs to survive but had reached 9-0 when bad light ended play just after 7pm. A daunting chase awaits.

Match report provided by ECB Reporters Network

TEA - DAY TWO

Northamptonshire 71 All Out

James Harris’ great day continued as Middlesex routed Northants in less than a session on day two of the Specsavers County Championship match at Lord’s.

The former Glamorgan pace-man followed his unbeaten 46 in Middlesex’s 214 all out with 5-9 as the Wantage Road men were bundled out for just 71 in reply.

Harris at one stage recorded a spell of 3-0 in nine balls.

The warhorse of the host attack Tim Murtagh began the carnage trapping Rob Newton for nought second ball of the innings, before going on to take 4-27. It meant a first-innings lead of 143 for the Lord’s tenants.

This had looked unlikely earlier in the day when Brett Hutton completed a five-wicket haul of his own on his County Championship debut for Northants.

Match report provided by ECB Reporters Network


LUNCH - DAY TWO

Middlesex 214 All Out

BRETT HUTTON bagged five wickets on his County Championship debut for Northants on day two of the Specsavers Division Two fixture against Middlesex at Lord’s.

Teammate Ben Sanderson (4-42), pick of the bowlers on day one, struck in his first over, causing Paul Stirling (44) to edge to wicketkeeper Adam Rossington, so ending a stand of 78 with John Simpson.

One became two when the Sheffield-born seamer trapped Simpson LBW for 32 in his next over.

The home side’s plight would have been worse had Toby Roland-Jones and James Harris not both been dropped, Doug Bracewell the luckless bowler on each occasion.

Hutton (5-54) then bungled a run-out opportunity at the bowler’s end but atoned by having first Roland-Jones and then Ollie Rayner caught in the slips.

Harris (46 not out) resisted bravely to raise a batting point, but Hutton bowled Tim Murtagh for nought to leave Middlesex 214 all out when a delayed lunch was taken.

Match report provided by ECB Reporters Network

END OF PLAY - DAY ONE

Middlesex 136-4

Middlesex’s batsmen fought back from a sticky start against Northamptonshire to reach 136-4 on a shortened opening day of the Specsavers County Championship at Lord’s.

Inserted on a greenish wicket, the home side slumped to 63-4 before lunch, with Northants seamers Ben Sanderson and Brett Hutton picking up two wickets each.

But Sanderson squandered a chance to cement his side’s grip on the game, dropping John Simpson at fine leg before the Middlesex wicketkeeper went on to share an unbroken stand of 73 with Paul Stirling.

Simpson (31*) and Stirling (40*) seemed well set when bad light halted play – despite the Lord’s floodlights being in use for the first time in a Championship fixture.

Middlesex deployed an inexperienced batting line-up, with club captain Dawid Malan unavailable and Nick Gubbins, Eoin Morgan and Stevie Eskinazi all ruled out through injury or illness.

That left 20-year-old Max Holden – who spent a successful loan period at Northamptonshire last season – to open alongside stand-in captain Sam Robson, with debutant Robbie White coming in at three.

Holden managed just eight before he nudged Sanderson (2-30) to second slip – and White left the next delivery, which moved back to flatten his off stump.

Australian Test batsman Hilton Cartwright, also making his Championship debut, went on the offensive with a couple of boundaries off Doug Bracewell and then pulled Hutton into the Mound Stand for six.

But Hutton, who joined Northants on a permanent basis from Nottinghamshire during the winter, took his revenge with a slower ball that foxed Cartwright after a brisk 30.

Having dropped anchor with a gritty 14, Robson also fell victim to Hutton (2-35) as he was trapped leg before to compound Middlesex’s difficulties.

After lunch, Simpson had made only three when his top-edged hook sailed towards the waiting hands of Sanderson, only for the fielder to spill what looked a regulation catch.

Simpson made the most of that let-off, beginning to play his shots as the bowlers’ accuracy waned and carved Bracewell through the covers to bring up the 50-partnership with Stirling.

Meanwhile, the Ireland international took advantage of the short boundary on one side, hitting seven fours, but Middlesex were unable to build on that momentum as deteriorating light forced the players from the field just before 3pm.

They returned briefly towards the end of the day and Richard Gleeson found some movement during the 3.5 overs that were bowled, with Stirling adding a further four runs to the total before play was finally abandoned.

Match report provided by ECB Reporters Network

TEA - DAY ONE

Middlesex 132-4

Paul Stirling and John Simpson led the Middlesex revival as they progressed to 132-4 in a truncated afternoon session against Northamptonshire at Lord’s.

The Middlesex pair settled into their groove with an unbroken fifth-wicket partnership of 69, having joined forces with the home side in difficulties at 63-4.

Brett Hutton and Ben Sanderson had earlier captured two wickets apiece – but it was Sanderson who missed a golden opportunity to drive home Northamptonshire’s advantage when he spilled a top-edge from Simpson at fine leg.

Simpson had moved on to 31 not out, with Stirling unbeaten on 36 when the players left the field due to bad light and took an early tea.

Match report provided by ECB Reporters Network

LUNCH - DAY ONE

Middlesex 64-4

Northamptonshire’s bowlers took control at Lord’s as they reduced Middlesex to 64-4 on the opening morning of the Specsavers County Championship.

Ben Sanderson struck in successive deliveries, with Max Holden (8) nudging one to second slip before Middlesex debutant Robbie White was bowled without playing a shot.

Australian Test batsman Hilton Cartwright, also making his first Championship appearance, launched a brief counter-attack for the home side, hitting 30 from 32 balls.

But Cartwright was deceived by a slower ball from Brett Hutton, who also removed Middlesex’s stand-in captain Sam Robson (14) leg before.

The Lord’s floodlights remained on throughout the morning – the first time they have been used in a Championship fixture – but did little to illuminate Middlesex’s gloom.

Match report provided by ECB Reporters Network

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