MIDDLESEX V NOTTINGHAMSHIRE | MATCH REPORT
Match report provide by the ECB Reporters Network.
Middlesex (274 & 249-6) beat Nottinghamshire (364 & 158-6) by four wickets
Half-centuries from Pieter Malan and Max Holden propelled Middlesex to an unlikely first win of the season as they chased down 249 to overcome Nottinghamshire by four wickets in a gripping finish at Lord’s.
The pair both passed 50 for the first time this season, with Malan hitting 61 and Holden 53 to secure a result that had looked highly improbable after wet weather wiped out most of the first two sessions.
But Nottinghamshire opted to force the pace, declaring on their overnight total of 158 for six and setting up a 40-over pursuit more reminiscent of the Sunday League that ran in that format until 1992.
Although Stuart Broad took three wickets, Middlesex held their nerve to scramble home with six balls to spare and register their first success since returning to the top flight of the LV= Insurance County Championship.
Despite an initial rain delay in the morning, the players began warming up on the outfield in preparation for a 12.30pm start, but the covers were soon back on as the drizzle developed into a heavier downpour.
Umpires Alex Wharf and Martin Saggers eventually sanctioned a resumption at 3.30pm, with Nottinghamshire declaring immediately and giving the hosts 40 overs to chase the target.
Middlesex promoted Stephen Eskinazi to opener – a role he has filled with great success in white-ball cricket – and his drive to the cover boundary off Broad’s second ball served as an indication of their intent.
Broad made the breakthrough by trapping Eskinazi in front for 11 but Mark Stoneman gave Brett Hutton the charge, lifting him over the top for four as well as benefitting from the odd edge through the slip area.
Stoneman flicked Broad into the grandstand for six as he advanced to 43 from 32 deliveries, eventually departing leg before to Dane Paterson and handing the baton over to Holden, who promptly pierced the field for successive boundaries.
With Nottinghamshire deploying five or six men in the deep at times, the left-hander continued to pick out the gaps as he and Malan kept pace with the required rate of just under a run a ball.
Their partnership realised 94 from 77 deliveries, with skipper Steven Mullaney eventually finding a way to break it as he tempted Malan to hole out to deep square leg with 73 still needed.
Broad returned for his second spell, switching to the Nursery End and he soon claimed the wicket of Holden, caught swishing down the leg side before the England seamer persuaded Luke Hollman to chip to mid-on.
Middlesex lost John Simpson in the same manner and, with overhead conditions dimming as they inched towards the target, Paterson sent down two tight overs to turn up the pressure on the batting side.
But Ryan Higgins, with an unbeaten 22 from as many deliveries, steered the Seaxes home – although the tension showed as Nottinghamshire missed the chance to run out Sam Robson when he belatedly scampered through for the winning single off Broad.
Stuart Broad warmed up for Ashes duty with a four-wicket haul as Nottinghamshire maintained the upper hand over hosts Middlesex on day three of their LV= Insurance Division One clash at Lord’s.
The 36-year-old with 576 Test wickets hopes to return to the home of cricket with England on June 28, and his 4-68 charging in from the Pavilion End was a more than decent dress-rehearsal.
Lyndon James weighed in with 3-58, but 76 from Mark Stoneman and 53 for Ryan Higgins, the all-rounder’s third half-century of the season, saved the follow-on and restricted Nottinghamshire’s lead to 90.
The visitors stretched that to 248 by the close thanks to Joe Clarke’s somewhat skittish 52 ended by the last ball of the day. They’ll hope tomorrow’s threatened rain stays away and allows them to push home their advantage on a pitch showing the first signs of wear and tear.
Nottinghamshire’s homework paid off as Broad, who’d struck with the final ball of day two didn’t take long to make the breakthrough. A leg-slip was deployed for Stephen Eskinazi, strangled down leg-side in the season opener with Essex a fortnight ago. The ploy brought almost immediate reward as Middlesex’s white-ball skipper flicked a short one to the posted fielder.
It set the theme for the morning as the visitors set traps and the home side’s batters obligingly fell into them. Max Holden, a man short of runs, drove Broad uppishly into the hands of an astutely placed short mid-wicket. Stoneman initially carried on his good work of day two, but some short pitch bowling from Brett Hutton forced the former England opener back onto his stumps before pinning him lbw trapped on the crease – not the first time this season he’s suffered that fate.
More clever planning saw the undoing of the usually obdurate John Simpson as Nott’s skipper Steven Mullaney employed a six-three leg-side field for James, who had relieved Hutton at the Nursery End, to ply the diminutive wicketkeeper with some short-pitched bowling. Again, the ploy worked as Simpson, caught between pulling and not, gloved one to fellow wicketkeeper Clarke.
At 171-6 the hosts still needed 44 to save the follow-on but Higgins, Middlesex’s most reliable source of runs so far in the campaign, found an ally in Luke Hollman and the pair reduced the tally required to 18 by lunch.
The half hour or so after the resumption was excruciatingly tense as the hosts traded in singles only for Broad’s toe-crushing Yorker to trap Hollman lbw with seven needed and they were still two shy when Martin Andersson slashed lazily into the hands of gully. Higgins though stood firm to push the two needed through cover to relieved applause from the home faithful.
That box ticked, the all-rounder, in his second spell with the tenants of Lord’s, set his sights on another half-century and raised it by pulling a short one from James to the square leg fence, but he barely had time to soak up the acclaim before dragging the next ball into his off and middle stumps.
Middlesex would though register their first batting point of the season thanks to some lusty blows from skipper Roland-Jones and resilient defence from last man Ethan Bamber.
Hopes we would be entertained for the rest of the afternoon by England opener Ben Duckett were quickly dashed, the first-innings centurion nicking Roland-Jones through to Simpson.
Haseeb Hameed and Matthew Montgomery both fell to the combination of Bamber and Simpson and had Roland-Jones clung on to Ben Slater’s loose drive wide to his left at mid-off the visitors would have been four down with a lead of 150.
Slater didn’t make the most of the reprieve, bowled by a beauty from Hollman which turned between bat and pad. Clarke’s half-century was also far from convincing but Nottinghamshire remain favourites on day four if the clouds stay away.
Mark Stoneman struck a classy unbeaten half-century as Middlesex’s under pressure top order produced defiant resistance on a truncated second day of their LV= Insurance County Championship clash with Nottinghamshire.
The former England opener had endured a tough start back in Division One with only 27 runs in four innings, but played confidently from the get-go, his 60 not out containing 10 fours.
Pieter Malan though fell lbw to Stuart Broad from what proved to be the last ball of the day as Middlesex closed on 111-2, still 253 behind.
Earlier, England’s current opener Ben Duckett stretched his overnight 119 to 177 in a Nottinghamshire total of 364. Ethan Bamber was the pick of the home attack with 4-89, while Ryan Higgins returned 2-50.
Overnight and morning rain meant no play until 2pm meaning Duckett and Mullaney were keen to move the game forward against the old ball.
Higgins frustrated those plans with a frugal spell, but Martin Andersson was hit out of the attack by Duckett in three expensive overs from the Nursery End and when he gave way to Luke Hollmann, Steven Mullaney struck the leg-spinner into the Grandstand for a towering six.
Duckett twice drove the new ball back past Toby Roland-Jones for four, but the Middlesex skipper gained recompense, trapping Mullaney plumb in front four short of a half century to end a stand of 90.
Thereafter only Duckett held up the home bowlers for long, reaching 150 with his 15th four, a cover-drive off Roland-Jones.
Bamber bowled impressively to underline he is the heir apparent to Tim Murtagh’s mantle from the Nursery End and Higgins was rewarded for persistence with wickets in successive balls as first Duckett’s seven-hour vigil came to an end caught at fine leg, before Dane Paterson had his stumps spreadeagled to end the innings.
Nottinghamshire’s total looked daunting given Middlesex’s batting woes, but Stoneman began confidently, hitting Stuart Broad through mid-off and mid-on for four. Sam Robson though endured a nervier start, taking 22 balls to get off the mark.
Robson survived a confident lbw shout to Lyndon James’ first ball as the two openers with 18 Test appearances between them raised a 50 stand for the first time this season. The Nottinghamshire all-rounder though struck back to snare Robson lbw with the very next ball, though the way the right-hander tossed his head back in disappointment suggested he thought he’d got an inside edge.
South African Pieter Malan began in a fashion befitting a man with just six runs in four previous innings this season, twice edging between slip and gully and inside edging another past his leg stump.
Stoneman though forged on, cutting and driving powerfully, before pulling a short ball from James to the mid-wicket rope, to raise his half-century.
Ben Duckett maintained his early-season form with an undefeated century at Lord’s as Nottinghamshire reached 252 for five on the opening day of their LV= Insurance County Championship clash with Middlesex.
The England opener, who recorded scores of 51 and 75 in the first two matches of the summer, topped those performances with a diligent 119 not out before bad light brought play to a premature close.
Having survived an edge off Ethan Bamber when he had yet to score, Duckett capitalised by sharing an opening stand of 117 with Haseeb Hameed, who missed out on the chance of a third consecutive Championship ton at Lord’s.
Bamber, who eventually claimed the scalp of Hameed for 55, was the pick of the Middlesex bowlers with figures of two for 62.
Nottinghamshire exceeded 400 after being put in at Lord’s last year and they immediately began constructing a similar platform following Middlesex’s curious decision to offer them first use of favourable batting conditions in the morning.
It might have been a different story had Duckett’s edge off Bamber – when the left-hander had yet to open his account – gone to hand instead of sailing between wicketkeeper John Simpson and first slip.
Bamber also beat the bat a number of times, but Duckett and Hameed took full advantage of the short boundary on the grandstand side of the ground, bringing up Nottinghamshire’s 50 within the first hour.
Duckett also employed the paddle shot to good effect as the opening pair continued to make progress, although a tidy pre-lunch spell from Ryan Higgins at the Nursery End slowed the scoring rate.
Hameed was first to reach his half-century, albeit only by a single delivery – the next one, from Martin Andersson, was dispatched over the rope by Duckett to propel him beyond the same landmark.
Middlesex switched Bamber to the Pavilion End, a move that paid dividends just before the interval as Hameed, prodding outside off stump, was taken low by a diving Stephen Eskinazi in the slips.
The afternoon session yielded further wickets for the Seaxes, with Ben Slater run out after straying at the non-striker’s end as Toby Roland-Jones deflected Duckett’s drive onto the stumps.
Matthew Montgomery’s first appearance of the season was a brief one as Bamber had him caught behind and, when Joe Clarke slapped Roland-Jones straight to the cover fielder for a duck, Nottinghamshire seemed to be experiencing a wobble at 152 for four.
However, Lyndon James restored the innings to an even keel, punching Andersson off the back foot for two fours and also taking runs from Luke Hollman’s leg-spin while Duckett eased himself into an anchor role.
Despite becoming slightly bogged down in the 90s, the opener eventually turned Hollman around the corner for a single to register his hundred from 152 balls as he and James added 73 for the fifth wicket.
Having struck eight boundaries in his knock of 41, James was visibly frustrated to depart before tea, nibbling at an Andersson delivery to provide Simpson with his second catch of the day.
Only five overs were bowled in the evening session, with the floodlights already switched on by the time Nottinghamshire secured a batting bonus point and deteriorating overhead conditions forced the teams off soon afterwards.
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Match report provide by the ECB Reporters Network.
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