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Match Centre

Wed 20 June
Leicestershire
Leicestershire
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Middlesex
Middlesex

Specsavers County Championship Division Two
Venue: Fischer County Ground, Grace Road
Duration: 4 days

Result: Middlesex won by 1 wicket
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DAY FOUR - CLOSE OF PLAY

Match Result - Middlesex win by 1 wicket

Middlesex - 233 all out & 383/9

Leicestershire - 427 all out & 186 all out

An unbeaten half-century from James Harris saw visitors Middlesex complete an outstanding recovery to beat Leicestershire by one wicket in a marvellously tense finish to their Specsavers Division Two county championship match at the Fischer County Ground, Grace Road.

Harris, who had been dropped twice by Leicestershire, clipped the winning runs off the bowling of Mohammad Abbas with 6.3 overs remaining. It was a fitting end to an intense day's cricket, during which Hilton Cartwright hit 80 after being “bowled” by Gavin Griffiths before he had scored. The delivery clipped off-stumped hard, but the bail did not come off, and the Australian went on to play a vital innings for his new county.

Starting the day on 82-3 chasing a target of 381 to win, not out Middlesex batsmen Stevie Eskinazi and Ravi Patel applied themselves impressively through the first hour, adding 55 for the fourth wicket before nightwatchman Patel's attempted drive at a full delivery from Mohammad Abbas resulted in a thin edge to wicket-keeper Lewis Hill.

Paul Stirling was also dismissed caught behind driving, a loose shot at a wide ball from Griffiths, and Leicestershire thought they had their third wicket of the day when the young seamer hit Cartwright's off-stump. To everybody's disbelief, the bail did not move.

Hope for Middlesex lay in the fact the wicket was behaving well. Cartwright went on to compile a partnership of 48 for the fifth wicket with Eskinazi, and then of an unbroken 80 with John Simpson as Middlesex lost only one wicket during the afternoon session.

The man to go, also in extraordinary circumstances, was Eskinazi, who was on 97 at the non-striker's end when Cartwright, on 19, drove left-arm spinner Callum Parkinson to Ben Raine at short extra cover. Raine could not hold the low chance, but Cartwright, seeing the ball bounce away, called Eskinazi through for a sharp single, and Raine recovered to throw down the stumps before Eskinazi could get home.

Simpson went soon after tea, leg before to late in-swing from Griffiths, but Harris was put down on 21, by wicketkeeper Hill, and on 23 by Ateeq Javid at second slip, both times off Raine. Neither was an easy chance but both will feel they should have held on.

Cartwright eventually went to a Raine delivery that stayed low and cut back, and Middlesex were still seven short when Steve Finn gloved Abbas down the leg-side to Hill. Last man Tim Murtagh joined Harris to steer the visitors over the line.

Match Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.


DAY FOUR - TEA

Middlesex - 276/6

An unbeaten half-century from Hilton Cartwright, the Australian's first in first-class cricket since signing for Middlesex, kept the visitors firmly in the hunt for an unlikely victory in their Specsavers County Championship match at tea on the final day at the Fischer County Ground.

Cartwright, whose off-stump was hit by Gavin Griffiths before he had scored, only for the bail to stay on, compiled partnerships of 48 for the fifth wicket with Stevie Eskinazi, and then of an unbroken 80 with John Simpson as Middlesex lost only one wicket during the afternoon session.

The man to go, in extraordinary circumstances, was Eskinazi, who was on 97 at the non-striker's end when Cartwright, then on 19, drove left-arm spinner Callum Parkinson in the air to Ben Raine at short extra cover. Raine could not hold the low chance, but Cartwright, seeing the ball bounce away, called Eskinazi through for a sharp single, and Raine recovered to throw down the stumps before Eskinazi could get home.

Starting the day on 82-3 chasing a target of 381 to win, not out batsmen Eskinazi and Ravi Patel had applied themselves impressively through the first hour, adding 55 for the fourth wicket before Patel's attempted drive at a full delivery from Mohammad Abbas resulted in a thin edge to wicket-keeper Lewis Hill.

Paul Stirling was also dismissed caught behind driving soon afterwards, a loose shot at a wide ball from Griffiths.

Match Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.


DAY FOUR - LUNCH

Middlesex - 169/5

A battling unbeaten 85 from Stevie [CORR] Eskinazi kept Middlesex in the hunt for an unlikely victory in their Specsavers Division Two county championship match against Leicestershire at the Fischer County Ground, Grace Road.

Starting the day on 82-3, chasing a target of 381 to win, not out batsmen Eskinazi and nightwatchman Ravi Patel applied themselves impressively through the first hour, adding 55 for the fourth wicket before Patel's attempted drive at a full delivery from Mohammad Abbas resulted in a thin edge to wicket-keeper Lewis Hill.

Paul Stirling was also dismissed caught behind driving, a loose shot at a wide ball from Gavin Griffiths, and Griffiths must have thought he had another victim when in the following over a delivery cut back to clip the off-stump of Hilton Cartwright.

Remarkably, however, the bail did not come off, and Cartwright survived until lunch, with Middlesex needing another 212 runs to win.

Match Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.


DAY THREE - CLOSE OF PLAY

Middlesex - 82/3

Leicestershire are strong favourites to win three consecutive championship matches for the first time in 20 years after setting Middlesex a fourth innings target of 381 to win their match at the Fischer County Ground, Grace Road.

Increasingly variable bounce on the previously used pitch, evident throughout the Leicestershire second innings, makes it an even tougher prospect for the 2016 county champions. It was also a huge factor in the fall of the second last wicket of an absorbing day's cricket, when Middlesex opener Sam Robson, having batted impressively in going to 31, received a delivery from Gavin Griffiths that both seamed back in and stayed horribly low to pin him leg before wicket.

The dismissal broke a partnership of 51 between Robson and Steve Eskinazi, who came together after just three balls of the innings, when Max Holden had edged a Ben Raine delivery which both lifted and left him outside off-stump.

Had Eskinazi and skipper Dawid Malan been together at the close, there would still have been real hope for the visitors, but with eight balls remaining in the day,Malan pressed forward to Raine and edged to wicketkeeper Hill to leave his team still needing 299 runs with just seven wickets in hand.

The tone of a day which saw Middlesex show real spirit after conceding a huge first innings lead of 194 was set by Middlesex seamers Tim Murtagh and James Harris. Murtagh, having taken 5-52 in Leicestershire's first innings, conceded just 14 runs in bowling 13 consecutive overs from the Bennett End, and with Harris almost equally parsimonious from the Pavilion End, Leicestershire opener Harry Dearden faced 71 balls in scoring just six runs before edging Murtagh to the wicket-keeper.

By then Harris had bowled Colin Ackermann, scorer of 196 not out in the first innings for just 3, and when a disbelieving Mark Cosgrove went leg before to the occasional off-spin of Holden, the Foxes were struggling, the more so when Harris bowled Hill with a delivery which seamed back in.

A stand of 50 between Raine and Neil Dexter gave Leicestershire's innings a modicum of impetus, but Dexter will want to quickly forget his dismissal, wandering out of his crease after bottom edging a Murtagh delivery along the ground to wicket-keeper Simpson. The alert Simpson rolled the ball back on to the stumps, and Dexter, not attempting a single, had indeed been stumped.

The Foxes' tail, as has regularly been the case this season, made useful contributions to drag the score up to 186, with Murtagh finishing with 3-27, and overall match figures of 8-79.

Match reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.


DAY THREE - TEA

Leicestershire - 186 all out

Leicestershire recovered from 65-5 in their second innings to set Middlesex a target of 381 to win their Specsavers County Championship match at the Fischer County Ground, Grace Road.

Fine seam bowling during the morning session from Tim Murtagh, who finished with 3-27 and match figures of 8-79, and James Harris (3-43), saw Middlesex bowl themselves back into a match in which they trailed their opponents by a daunting 194 runs on first innings.

But a 50 stand between Neil Dexter and Ben Raine, compiled at close to a run a ball,and useful contributions from Zak Chappell and Gavin Griffiths, ensured the Foxes were able to set a testing target on a pitch on which the bounce is becoming increasingly variable.

Match Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.


DAY THREE - LUNCH

Leicestershire - 56/4

Seamers Tim Murtagh and James Harris produced outstanding spells to keep Middlesex firmly in the game at lunch on th third day of their Specsavers Division Two Championship match against Leicestershire at the Fischer County Ground.

Murtagh, who picked up five wickets in Leicestershire's first innings, conceded just 14 runs from 13 consecutive overs, and picked up the wicket of Foxes' opener Harry Dearden, who faced 71 balls for his six runs before edging a lifting delivery to wicket-keeper John Simpson.

By that stage Colin Ackermann, who hit an unbeaten 196 in the first innings, had already been dismissed by Harris, a full delivery that seamed back in to beat the South African's back foot defensive shot and hit middle stump.

Mark Cosgrove had been hit on the hand by Steve Finn, but was beginning to play with more freedom when Middlesex captain Dawid Malan threw the ball to occasional off-spinner Max Holden. Cosgrove pressed forward to his second delivery, but was given out leg before, umpire Graeme Lloyd deciding the ball had hit pad before bat.

At the interval Leicestershire were 56-4, leading by 250, a very strong position, but with plenty of work still to do to extend that lead to a position in which they would feel secure.

Match Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.


DAY TWO - CLOSE OF PLAY

Middlesex - 223 all out

Leicestershire - 0/1

Leicestershire's bowlers drove home the advantage after their batsmen, led by a first-class career best 196 not out by Colin Ackermann, posted an imposing first innings score in their Specsavers County Championship match against Middlesex at the Fischer County Ground, Grace Road.

Young seamers Zak Chappell and Gavin Griffiths picked up six wickets between them as the visitors subsided from 200-4 to 233 all out.

South African Ackermann's only disappointment was not getting the chance to reach the double century he deserved, after the Foxes had resumed on their overnight score of 353-8.

Leicestershire number ten Gavin Griffiths, who had himself already passed his previous first-class best, continued to offer Ackermann solid support, and the partnership had reached 90, matching Leicestershire's ninth wicket record against Middlesex, before James Harris, bowling from the Bennett End, found extra bounce to hit Griffiths' glove, and the ball looped high into the hands of point.

Last man Mohammad Abbas saw Ackermann past his previous career best of 187 not out, but the Pakistan Test bowler then edged a Hilton Cartwright delivery to Dawid Malan at second slip.

Middlesex openers Max Holden and Sam Robson were given a severe examination by Mohammad Abbas and Ben Raine, both of whom made the ball swing and sometimes seam off the pitch. The occasional delivery was also keeping low, and Holden was on the back foot when a delivery from Abbas swung back in and hit him in front of off-stump.

Robson faced more than 50 balls for his 15 before edging Raine to Neil Dexter at third slip, and Chappell produced a quick delivery that came back and hit (and broke) the top of Stevie Eskinazi's middle stump.

Had Dexter held a Stirling edge off Gavin Griffiths with the batsman on just one, and Harry Dearden not put down Dawid Malan at gully off Dexter, on 15, Middlesex would have been in even more trouble.

But with Stirling in particular going for his shots, the pair added a quick 80 for the fourth wicket before the Irishman, having gone to his 50 in the over after tea, pulled a Raine delivery straight to midwicket.

Malan continued to bat responsibly, but Hilton Cartwright again flattered to deceive, looking good in going to 33 with several crisply impressive off-drives before skying an attempted hook at a Chappell bouncer. John Simpson was leg before to a full in-swinger from Griffiths, and Chappell picked up leg before decisions with consecutive deliveries to Harris and Steve Fin.

With the Middlesex tail having signally failed to wag, Tim Murtagh's dismissal of Leicestershire skipper Paul Horton in the final over of the day was minimal consolation for the visitors.

Match Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.


DAY TWO - TEA

Middlesex - 136/3

Leicestershire dropped four catches as Dawid Malan and Paul Stirling led a Middlesex recovery on the second day of the Specsavers County Championship at the Fischer County Ground.

Both Malan and Stirling were put down after the Foxes' seamers had reduced the visitors to 60-3, in reply to Leicestershire's imposing first innings score of 427.

Openers Max Holden and Sam Robson were given a severe examination by Mohammad Abbas and Ben Raine, both of whom made the ball swing and sometimes seam off the pitch. The occasional delivery was also keeping low, and Holden was on the back foot when a delivery from Abbas swung back in and hit him in front of off-stump.

Robson faced more than 50 balls for his 15 before edging Raine to Neil Dexter at third slip, and when Zak Chappell produced a quick delivery that came back and hit (and broke) the top of Stevie Eskinazi's middle stump.

Had Dexter held a Stirling edge off Gavin Griffiths with the batsman on just one, and Harry Dearden not put down Malan at gully off Dexter, on 15, Middlesex really would have been in trouble.

But with Stirling in particular going for his shots, the pair added a quick 76 for the fourth wicket to give the scoreboard a more healthy appearance for the visitors at tea.

Earlier Colin Ackermann hit a first-class career best 196 not out as Leicestershire extended their first innings score past 400.

The South African's only disappointment was not getting the chance to reach the double century he deserved, after the Foxes had resumed on their overnight score of 353-8.

Leicestershire number ten Gavin Griffiths, who had himself already passed his previous first-class best, continued to offer Ackermann solid support as the Middlesex seamers settled in to their opening spells.

The partnership had reached 90, matching Leicestershire's ninth wicket record against Middlesex, before James Harris, bowling from the Bennett End, found startling extra bounce to hit Griffiths' glove, and the ball looped high into the hands of point.

Last man Mohammad Abbas saw Ackermann past his previous best of 187 not out, but the Pakistan Test bowler then edged a Hilton Cartwright delivery to Dawid Malan at second slip.

Match Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.


DAY TWO - LUNCH

Leicestershire - 427 all out

Middlesex 8/0

Colin Ackermann reached a first-class career best 196 not out as Leicestershire extended their first innings score past 400 in their Specsavers County Championship match against Middlesex at the Fischer County Ground.

The 27-year-old South African's only disappointment was not getting the chance to reach the double century he deserved, after the Foxes had resumed on their overnight score of 353-8.

Leicestershire number ten Gavin Griffiths, who had himself already passed his previous first-class best, continued to offer Ackermann solid support as the Middlesex seamers settled in to accurate but fruitless opening spells.

The partnership had reached 90, matching Leicestershire's ninth wicket record against Middlesex, before James Harris, bowling from the Bennett End, found startling extra bounce to hit Griffiths' glove, and the ball looped high and gently into the hands of point.

Last man Mohammad Abbas saw Ackermann past his previous best of 187 not out, but the Pakistan Test bowler then edged a Hilton Cartwright delivery to Dawid Malan at second slip. Ackermann's 196 was made from 350 balls, and included 25 fours and two sixes.

Match Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.


DAY ONE - CLOSE OF PLAY

Leicestershire 353/8

An outstanding unbeaten 151 from Colin Ackermann, his second century in the championship this season, left Leicestershire in a strong position at the end of the first day of their Specsavers County Championship match against Middlesex at the Fischer County Ground.

The South African, playing with a protective cast on a finger in his right hand, reached 100 with a huge six over midwicket off left-arm spinner Ravi Patel, and reached 150 off the final ball of the day. It was a vital knock for the Foxes, who had struggled after captain Paul Horton won the toss and chose to bat first under cloudy skies.

Tim Murtagh, who finished with 5-52 from 23 beautifully controlled overs, made the first breakthrough of the day, producing a fine delivery which seamed back in to hit the top of Horton's off and middle stumps, before fellow opener Harry Dearden steered a wide delivery from Steve Finn straight into the hands of Hilton Cartwright at point to leave the home side on 25-2.

Ackermann and Mark Cosgrove added 40 for the third wicket, but just as Cosgrove was beginning to look more comfortable, the Australian attempted to steer an off-side delivery from Cartwright to third man, and succeeded only in giving Dawid Malan catching practice at second slip.

The cloud began to clear, however, and Ackermann, in company with Neil Dexter, took advantage of the improvement in conditions on a pitch which had been used the previous day, for a one-day match between Leicestershire and India 'A'..

Both drove fluently, particularly when hitting straight down the ground, and Dexter's 50 came off just 73 balls, but shortly after he was dropped by Middlesex captain Dawid Malan, a tough low chance diving to his right off James Harris, an attempted drive at a Murtagh delivery took the edge and gave wicket-keeper John Simpson a straightforward catch.

Murtagh then had Lewis Hill caught at first slip by Sam Robson, but Ackermann found more solid support from all-rounder Ben Raine. Together they built a partnership of 64 for the sixth wicket before the persevering Patel dived to his right to take a fine return catch off the belligerent Raine.

Murtagh quickly disposed of Zak Chappell, bowled, and Callum Parkinson, bounced out, but Gavin Griffiths dug in, finishing on a first class best 18 not out as Ackermann went to his 150.

Match Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.


DAY ONE - TEA

Leicestershire - 204/5

A partnership of 129 for the fourth wicket between Colin Ackermann and Neil Dexter put Leicestershire in control before two wickets late in the afternoon session left their Specsavers County Championship match against Middlesex nicely balanced at tea.

The two South Africans, who came together when Mark Cosgrove's dismissal by Hilton Cartwright left the Foxes struggling on 65-3 shortly before lunch, took advantage of improving overhead conditions at the Fischer County Ground.

Both drove fluently, particularly when hitting straight down the ground, with Ackermann hitting nine fours in going to his half-century from 104 deliveries.

Dexter's 50 came off just 73 balls, but shortly after he was dropped by Middlesex captain Dawid Malan, a very difficult low chance diving to his right off James Harris, an attempted drive at a Tim Murtagh delivery took the edge and gave wicket-keeper John Simpson a straightforward catch behind the stumps.

Murtagh, who had earlier made the first breakthrough of the day when he bowled Foxes' opener Paul Horton, then had Lewis Hill caught at first slip by Sam Robson to give the away side momentum going in to the break.

Match Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.


DAY ONE - LUNCH

Leicestershire - 84/3

Middlesex picked up three wickets after Leicestershire won the toss and chose to bat first under cloudy skies on a rain-shortened first morning of the Specsavers County Championship match at the Fischer County Ground.

Tim Murtagh made the first breakthrough, producing a fine delivery which seamed back in to hit the top of Paul Horton's off and middle stumps, before Horton's fellow opener Harry Dearden steered a wide delivery from Steve Finn straight into the hands of Hilton Cartwright at point to leave the Foxes on 25-2.

Mark Cosgrove and Colin Ackermann added 40 for the third wicket, but just as Cosgrove was beginning to look more comfortable, the Australian attempted to steer an off-side delivery from Cartwright to third man and succeeded only in giving Dawid Malan catching practice at second slip.

The in-form Ackermann hit several fine drives in going to lunch unbeaten on 30.

Match Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.

LEICESTERSHIRE V MIDDLESEX - DAY FOUR MATCH ACTION
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LEICESTERSHIRE V MIDDLESEX - DAY FOUR MATCH ACTION

All the best of the action from a dramatic final day at Grace Road, where Middlesex pulled off a one wicket victory over Leicestershire.

IMAGES OF DAY FOUR VS LEICESTERSHIRE
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IMAGES OF DAY FOUR VS LEICESTERSHIRE

All the best images from our final day against Leicestershire, where Middlesex won by 1 wicket in dramatic style. Photography credit to John Mallett.

IMAGES FROM DAY THREE VS LEICESTERSHIRE
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IMAGES FROM DAY THREE VS LEICESTERSHIRE

All the images from day three at Grace Road in the Specsavers County Championship. Photography credit goes to John Mallett.

LEICESTERSHIRE V MIDDLESEX - DAY TWO MATCH ACTION
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LEICESTERSHIRE V MIDDLESEX - DAY TWO MATCH ACTION

All the action from Day Two at Grace Road, where Middlesex played Leicestershire in the County Championship.

MATCH ACTION FROM DAY ONE AT GRACE ROAD AGAINST LEICESTERSHIRE
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MATCH ACTION FROM DAY ONE AT GRACE ROAD AGAINST LEICESTERSHIRE

Watch the match action from day one at Grace Road where Leicestershire hit 353 for 8 thanks to an unbeaten 151 from Colin Ackermann.

IMAGES FROM DAY ONE VS LEICESTERSHIRE
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IMAGES FROM DAY ONE VS LEICESTERSHIRE

All the best images from Day One against Leicestershire. Photo credits go to John Mallett.

MATCH UPDATES - LEICESTERSHIRE V MIDDLESEX
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MATCH UPDATES - LEICESTERSHIRE V MIDDLESEX

Session by session updates from Grace Road, where Middlesex take on Leicestershire in the County Championship.

RICHARD SCOTT LOOKS AHEAD TO THE LEICESTERSHIRE CLASH
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RICHARD SCOTT LOOKS AHEAD TO THE LEICESTERSHIRE CLASH

Head Coach Richard Scott looks ahead to the trip to Grace Road, ahead of Middlesex's return to Championship action against Leicestershire.

SQUAD AND PREVIEW FOR TRIP TO GRACE ROAD TO FACE LEICESTERSHIRE
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SQUAD AND PREVIEW FOR TRIP TO GRACE ROAD TO FACE LEICESTERSHIRE

Middlesex have named a thirteen-man squad for the trip to Grace Road. Read the preview and view the squad here...

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