Middlesex head up to Chester-le-Street for the final match of their 2018 season this week, where they’ll take on Durham in the last round of the Specsavers County Championship, in a game starting on Monday at 10.30am.
Dawid Malan’s men will head northbound in confident mood and in good order, having finished the season well at home last week, beating Derbyshire at Lord’s in their final home game of the campaign.
The performance was arguably as strong a performance as Middlesex have managed to pull together all season, as on a far more batsman friendly wicket than has been seen in recent games, both Sam Robson and Max Holden hit classy centuries. Middlesex posted a first innings total of 423 to secure maximum batting points for the first time this season, before wrapping up victory in the final session of the match, running out winners by a 117 run margin.
The victory saw Middlesex reclaim fourth spot in the Division Two table, 23 points behind Sussex in third, and 14 ahead of Leicestershire in fifth.
The batsman’s brief respite could well be short lived however, as recent statistics suggest that they’ll find themselves back on a green, seamer friendly surface in the north east, with 198 being the highest total scored in any of the last four first innings at the Emirates Riverside Ground.
With the ball, the seam attack of Ethan Bamber, James Harris and Tim Murtagh did most of the damage last week at Lord’s, with the trio each bagging six wicket hauls in the game, and all three are unsurprisingly named again in Interim Head Coach Richard Johnson’s squad for the trip to Durham.
Durham’s last outing was most definitely one to forget, as they were demolished inside two days by a Leicestershire side who climbed above them in the table. Pakistani paceman Mohammad Abbas wreaked havoc on the Durham batsman, as they recorded the two lowest scores in their Championship history, just 61 in their first innings and 66 in their second, with all twenty wickets falling inside the space of just 53 overs. The innings and 194 run defeat sees Durham now sitting in seventh place in the table, 17 points clear of Northants in eighth.
This week’s clash will be the final professional outing for Durham and England legend Paul Collingwood, who announced his retirement from the game recently. Collingwood will bring the curtain down on a 23 year career with Durham, having made his debut for the club all the way back in May 1996.
Middlesex have named a fourteen man squad for this week’s 2018 season finale, as follows:
Dawid Malan (captain)