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MATCH RESULT - DRAW

Northamptonshire 445 & 10/0

Middlesex 271 & 317/4dec

Northamptonshire - 12 points

Middlesex - 9 points

Dawid Malan’s century saw Middlesex to a draw at Wantage Road and provided a reminder of his ability to watching England National Selector Ed Smith. Malan’s unbeaten 160, his second-highest first-class score, steered Middlesex to 317 for 4 and a lead of 143 before the visitors declared and hurried through seven overs in 15 minutes to recover a negative over rate.

Malan was one of the few to return from England’s chastening Ashes tour in credit two winters ago but this close season was spent in various T20 leagues after being dropped by England after the first Test against India in 2018 following only 219 runs in 11 innings.

His county form was also underwhelming last season with 613 runs at 29 but did make one of only four Middlesex centuries in last year’s Championship. Here, he opened the county’s hundred-tally after lunch in a largely calm and composed innings, featuring several languid drives and vicious cuts. There was the occasional loose drive outside off, he survived a raucous lbw appeal from Ben Sanderson on 63 and slapped to a diving Rob Keogh at point soon after, who couldn’t cling on to a very tough chance - but Malan earned his luck.

Having past fifty in 60 balls on the third afternoon to blunt Northants’ victory push, he defied the hosts again on final morning adding only 24 runs but ensured time continued to tick away from the game. After lunch, he raised Rob Keogh over long-off for six and extended his boundary tally to 12 in going to a century in 179 balls, the 22nd of his first-class career.

Malan had Max Holden for steady company to continue the resistance. Holden’s runs in the second innings in this fixture last season set his side up for a remarkable victory having followed-on. Here, they ensured Middlesex left Wantage Road with nine points as he survived a number of deliveries going past his outside edge to reach fifty in 126 balls with six fours.

The stand of 105 for the fourth wicket was only broken when Holden drove firmly into the body of Rob Newton at silly point, the ball rebounded for Adam Rossington to take the catch.

It was just the second wicket of the day as Northants never threatened. When Nathan Buck removed Sam Robson in the fourth over of the morning - a lifter that took the outside edge to second slip - the hosts’ hopes were raised as Middlesex still trailed by 55 but that was as good as their day got. 12 points was still a healthy return from the opening round of the season against one of the promotion favourites.

Match Report provided by ECB Reporters Network.


Dawid Malan’s century saw Middlesex to a draw at Wantage Road and provided a reminder of his ability to watching England National Selector Ed Smith. Malan’s unbeaten 160, his second-highest first-class score, steered Middlesex to 317 for 4 and a lead of 143 before the visitors declared and hurried through seven overs in 15 minutes to recover a negative over rate.

Malan was one of the few to return from England’s chastening Ashes tour in credit two winters ago but this close season was spent in various T20 leagues after being dropped by England after the first Test against India in 2018 following only 219 runs in 11 innings.

His county form was also underwhelming last season with 613 runs at 29 but did make one of only four Middlesex centuries in last year’s Championship. Here, he opened the county’s hundred-tally after lunch in a largely calm and composed innings, featuring several languid drives and vicious cuts. There was the occasional loose drive outside off, he survived a raucous lbw appeal from Ben Sanderson on 63 and slapped to a diving Rob Keogh at point soon after, who couldn’t cling on to a very tough chance - but Malan earned his luck.

Having past fifty in 60 balls on the third afternoon to blunt Northants’ victory push, he defied the hosts again on final morning adding only 24 runs but ensured time continued to tick away from the game. After lunch, he raised Rob Keogh over long-off for six and extended his boundary tally to 12 in going to a century in 179 balls, the 22nd of his first-class career.

Malan had Max Holden for steady company to continue the resistance. Holden’s runs in the second innings in this fixture last season set his side up for a remarkable victory having followed-on. Here, they ensured Middlesex left Wantage Road with nine points as he survived a number of deliveries going past his outside edge to reach fifty in 126 balls with six fours.

The stand of 105 for the fourth wicket was only broken when Holden drove firmly into the body of Rob Newton at silly point, the ball rebounded for Adam Rossington to take the catch.

It was just the second wicket of the day as Northants never threatened. When Nathan Buck removed Sam Robson in the fourth over of the morning - a lifter that took the outside edge to second slip - the hosts’ hopes were raised as Middlesex still trailed by 55 but that was as good as their day got. 12 points was still a healthy return from the opening round of the season against one of the promotion favourites.


TEA - DAY FOUR

Northamptonshire 445

Middlesex 271 & 290/4

Dawid Malan’s 22nd first-class century ensured Middlesex will salvage a draw at Northamptonshire. The visitors took tea on the final day 292 for 4, leading by 118.

Malan carefully made 24 runs in the morning session to defy Northants’ victory push before going through to a century after lunch in 179 balls with 12 fours and a six off Rob Keogh.

Northants only wicket of the session came in fortuitous fashion as Max Holden, having raised his fifty in 126 balls with six fours, drove Keogh hard into Rob Newton at silly point and the ball rebounded for Adam Rossington to take the catch.

Match Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.


LUNCH - DAY FOUR

Northamptonshire 445

Middlesex 271 & 176/3

Dawid Malan and Max Holden repelled Northamptonshre on the final morning at Wantage Road as Middlesex sought to bat out the day for a draw. At lunch, the visitors had wiped out the first innings deficit at 176 for 3, leading by two runs.

Resuming 109 for 2 following-on, still 65 runs behind, Nathan Buck struck in the fourth over of the morning with a lifting delivery that took the shoulder of Sam Robson’s bat to second slip - it was Buck’s eighth wicket of the match, a career-best haul.

Ben Sanderson then had a huge lbw appeal turned down against Malan on 63 - replays suggested enough doubt - and the Middlesex captain settled with Holden to take his side into a slender lead.

Holden, whose second-innings 94 in this fixture last season set his side up for a remarkable victory having followed-on, again sought to help steer his side from trouble. He twice pulled Jason Holder for boundaries.

Holder’s workload during his short stint with Northants has been limited by the West Indies Cricket Board. He sent down an unremarkable six over spell in the morning session, wearing a short-sleeve shirt and slipover - a sign of his acclimatisation after being covered up in thicker layers earlier in the match.

Match Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.


STUMPS - DAY THREE

Northamptonshire 445

Middlesex 271 & 109/2

James Harris and Dawid Malan gave Middlesex hope of saving the game at Northamptonshire with fifties at the start and end of the third day. Harris’ first-innings 61 not out reduced the deficit to 174 and then having been asked to follow-on, Malan went to the close unbeaten on 55 as Middlesex ended a day of uniform grey cloud 109 for 2, trailing by 65.

Having been dominated for the first two days of the match, Middlesex desperately needed a response and Harris provided one in the morning session. Resuming 134 for 7, Harris and Toby Roland-Jones finally got to grips with their task and calmly added 59 for the eighth wicket through several back-foot punches and a two very sweet straight drives from Harris.

The Welshman was dropped on 25 - a sharp low chance to Jason Holder’s left boot - and then went through to fifty in 92 balls with six fours.

The pair occupied the first hour before Roland-Jones was trapped lbw by Nathan Buck. But Steven Finn made an enterprising, if fortuitous 34, to add another 74 for the ninth wicket before Buck wrapped up the innings four overs after lunch - Finn driving to second slip and No. 11 Tim Murtagh holing out to mid-off.

Not deterred by their horrific collapse here last season, when Northants lost having asked Middlesex to follow-on, Alex Wakely sent the visitors in again and Buck struck twice with the new ball - Nick Gubbins driving to Holder at second slip before Stevie Eskinazi found third slip to fall for a second-ball duck.

Following-on and 10 for 2, Middlesex were sliding out of the game but Sam Robson survived numerous plays-and-misses to anchor the innings and Malan found some good touch at the other end. He was particularly fluent after a rain-extended tea where 64 runs came in 13 overs, cutting and driving with purpose to reach his half-century in 60 balls.

The third wicket stand had added 99 before bad light ended the day 22 overs early. With a showery forecast for the final day, Northants might be concerned about forcing a victory their performance from the first two days has set them up for.

Match Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.


TEA - DAY THREE

Northamptonshire 445

Middlesex 271 & 45/2

Nathan Buck set up Northamptonshire’s push for victory over Middlesex with four wickets after lunch on day three. The visitors, asked to follow-on after being bowled out for 271, were 45 for 2 before rain brought an early tea.

After being frustrated in the morning session with only one wicket - Buck trapping Toby Roland-Jones lbw - it took just four overs of the afternoon to end the resistance. Buck had Steven Finn well held at second slip before last man Tim Murtagh holed out to mid-off to complete figures of 5 for 54.

As happened in this fixture last season, Northants enforced the follow-on - this time with a marginally larger lead of 174.

Buck soon struck again - Nick Gubbins drove to second slip and Stevie Eskinazi was held at third slip for a second-ball duck.

Match Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.


LUNCH - DAY THREE

Northamptonshire 445

Middlesex 257/8

James Harris made a battling half-century to lead some much-needed resistance for Middlesex on the second morning as they survived the opening session of day three to take lunch 257 for 8, trailing Northamptonshire by 188.

Resuming 134 for 7 having been badly outplayed for two days, Harris and Toby Roland-Jones finally got to grips with their task and calmly added 59 for the eighth wicket through several back-foot punches and a two very sweet straight drives from Harris.

The Welshman was dropped on 25 - a sharp low chance to Jason Holder’s left boot - went through to fifty in 92 balls with six fours and instead it was Roland-Jones first to fall, trapped lbw by Nathan Buck.

Match Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.


STUMPS - DAY TWO

Northamptonshire 445

Middlesex 134/7

If the opening day of the season was a very welcome start to a new campaign for Northamptonshire, the second day was the stuff of pre-season dreams as they totally dominated Middlesex, the 2016 county champions. Having piled up 445, Northants reduced Middlesex to 134 for 7 before bad light ended the day 14 overs early.

Having overcome one bad habit of not being able to bat for long periods and build a score on day one, Northamptonshire overcame another by backing up one good day with another. When Jason Holder fell in the sixth over of the morning, a Middlesex fightback looked possible but Luke Procter and Luke Wood ensured the advantage was pressed home, sharing 53 for the eighth wicket.

Their stand earned Northants a fourth batting point. It took five matches for Northants to reach the same tally last season.

Procter, who endured a lean 2018 in his first full season after joining from Lancashire, worked the bowling around with ease to pass fifty in 111 balls, before taking a liberty or two with the tail - lifting Steven Finn over deep square for six and cleverly turning Tim Murtagh backward of square for boundaries - in making an unbeaten 81, the highest score of the innings.

Northants' total was built with several healthy partnerships, the last of which, a 71 stand for the tenth wicket between Procter and Ben Sanderson, a sickener for Middlesex as a solid total became a commanding score.

With the luxury of scoreboard pressure, the home attack bowled with persistence to chip away at the Middlesex order. After a 39-run opening stand, Holder made the breakthrough having Nick Gubbins caught at first slip before Sam Robson went to cut and edged behind. In between, Nathan Buck produced a delivery that lifted from a length to find Stevie Eskinazi’s edge and with three wickets by tea, Northants had won a fifth session in succession.

After tea, the home side took complete control of the game. Dawid Malan fell in the second over the session, caught at the wicket off Luke Wood - a first wicket for the on-loan Nottinghamshire left-armer. Wood’s second wicket saw Max Holden, who rescued Middlesex in the second innings of this fixture last season, mistime a pull to square leg.

Eoin Morgan, England’s one-day captain, never settled with various inside and outside edges before Buck finally drew an edge that taken by Adam Rossington and when Sanderson took his first wicket - John Simpson held well, down low by Holder at second slip - Northants were pondering asking Middlesex to follow-on for the second season in a row.

Match Report provided by ECB Reporters Network.


TEA - DAY TWO

Northamptonshire 445

Middlesex 78/3

Jason Holder took two wickets as Northamptonshire took control against Middlesex at Wantage Road, the visitors taking tea 78 for 3 replying to 445.

After Northants had extended their overnight 310 for 6 to a commanding score with a 10th-wicket stand of 71, they put the visitors under further pressure with the ball.

Holder struck in his second over when Nick Gubbins edged to Alex Wakely at first slip before Sam Robson slashed at the West Indies captain to be caught behind.

In between, Nathan Buck produced a lifting delivery to take the edge of Stevie Eskinazi for just 4.

Match Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.


LUNCH - DAY TWO

Northamptonshire 445 all out

Luke Procter ensured Northamptonshire’s excellent first innings continued into the second morning as his unbeaten 81 led his side to 445 against Middlesex.

When Jason Holder fell in the sixth over the day - Tim Murtagh completing a 31st five-wicket haul of his career - it appeared Middlesex would mount a fightback.

But Procter shared 53 for the eighth wicket with Luke Wood before passing fifty in 111 balls, with five fours and a six heaved over deep square off Steven Finn.

A fourth batting bonus point was earned - it took five whole matches for Northants to raise the same tally last season - before the tenth wicket took the hosts well past 400 with a stand of 71.

Match Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.


STUMPS - DAY ONE

Northamptonshire 310/6

The opening day of the new season was the type of day that has eluded Northamptonshire for many years as they steadily built a score in testing conditions against a good attack. Having been sent in, the host made 310 for 6, led by fifties from Alex Wakely and Adam Rossington.

Many times did a high class seam attack of Tim Murtagh, who took the first four wickets to fall, James Harris and England internationals Steven Finn and Toby Roland-Jones beat the bat, but Northants bided their time on a fairly slow wicket and grew several useful partnerships.

The most profitable was the 99 added by Wakely and Keogh that occupied 28.2 overs of the afternoon and set up Northants’ day. Wakely, Northants leading runscorer in 2018, struck seven fours in going past fifty in 102 balls en route to 76 and Keogh compiled a smart 46. The pair fell either side of tea - Wakely slashing Murtagh to first slip and Keogh driving Finn to second, loose strokes both but old habits - that had been well resisted throughout the day - die hard.

From a solid 182 for 4, Adam Rossington - after two failures against Oxford MCCU last week - made a bright 67 - including pulling Roland-Jones over midwicket for six and flicking the same bowler to Max Holden on the fence, only for the fielder to stumble over the boundary.

Most of Rossington’s runs came after tea - a time when Northants had folded last season. But here, a sixth-wicket stand of 67 - ended when Rossington was bowled by a relieved Roland-Jones - ensured the initiative would not be surrendered.

Jason Holder was the other half of the stand. He walked out to cheers and a wonderful sense of excitement that a genuine star of the world game was gracing county cricket. Crunching his second ball through point for four only raised the level of anticipation. He took his new county to the close unbeaten on 36.

Middlesex know enough about the competitiveness of Division Two after their struggle last season and were given an immediate reminder that promotion will be hard-earned. They could consider themselves a little unlucky with the amount of times they beat the bat but Finn proved expensive - going at over four-an-over - seven no-balls were delivered and they did miss one golden chance when Stevie Eskinazi dropped Wakely on 41.

As has been the case for many years, Middlesex were led by Murtagh. Now in his 20th season of first-class cricket, he trapped Rob Newton lbw for 7, had Ricardo Vasconcelos caught behind for 38 just before lunch, Josh Cobb caught at mid-on for 9 after the internal before breaking the biggest partnership of the day with Wakely’s wicket. But his wait for a 31st career five-wicket haul will have to wait at least one more day.

Match Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.


TEA - DAY ONE

Northamptonshire 202/4

Alex Wakely and Rob Keogh shared a stand of 99 for fourth wicket as Northamptonshire enjoyed a solid middle session against Middlesex at Wantage Road, reaching 202 for 4 at tea.

Wakely, badly dropped at second slip by Stevie Eskinazi off Toby Roland-Jones on 41, took advantage to go past fifty in 102 balls with seven fours.

He and Keogh battled gamely against some probing bowling, particularly by Roland-Jones, who was very unlucky not to strike in six-over burst after lunch.

The stand was ended four overs before tea when Wakely slashed at Tim Murtagh and was taken at first slip.

It was Murtagh’s fourth wicket, as he began his 20th season of first-class cricket in familiar fashion.

Match Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.


LUNCH - DAY ONE

Northamptonshire - 78/2

Tim Murtagh began his 20th season of first-class cricket with two wickets in the opening session at Wantage Road, as Northamptonshire took lunch 78 for 2 having been sent in by Middlesex.

After 58 County Championship wickets at just 15.31 last season, the first mark on Murtagh’s new blackboard was chalked up in the ninth over with one that nipped back to trap Rob Newton lbw for 7.

The second came as he changed ends for a second spell to make an important breakthrough after a stand of 46 for the second wicket between Ricardo Vasconcelos and captain Alex Wakely.

Vasconcelos settled nicely for Northants but feathered Murtagh behind for a smartly-compiled 38.

Match Reports provided by ECB Reporters Network.


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