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MATCH REPORT | MIDDLESEX v GLOUCESTERSHIRE

Match Reports are supplied by the ECB Reporters Network


DAY THREE

NEW DAD David Payne has double reason to celebrate after career-best match figures of 11-87 saw Gloucestershire crush Middlesex by seven wickets on day three at Lord’s.

Payne, who missed last week’s thrilling win over Leicestershire to be at the birth of his first-born, has two match balls to take home to his daughter after adding 6-56 to his first innings five-wicket haul.

His endeavours meant the hosts were scuttled out for just 152, this after morning rain delayed the start until 1:10pm.

Gloucestershire knocked off the 90 runs needed in the final session for the loss of three wickets to cement their place as LV= Insurance County Championship Group Two leaders.

Once the rain stopped it didn’t take long for the storm clouds to gather over Middlesex’s brittle batting line-up once more.

Ryan Higgins had nightwatchman Ethan Bamber caught behind for a 26-ball duck in the fifth over of the day, before Payne took centre stage once more to remove the in-form Robbie White who was caught on the crease and could only plant an inside edge into his off stump.

To his credit, Nick Gubbins tried to launch a counter offensive, twice unfurling three boundaries in an over, first from Payne and then Higgins, a couple of his cover drives especially pleasing on the eye.

John Simpson caught the mood, playing positively from the off, the pair running with real intent between the wickets to turn ones into twos as they raised the 50-stand at a run a ball.

Gubbins reached 50 from 97 balls, but inevitably Payne snuffed out the revival trapping him lbw, from one which looked to strike the left-hander outside the line.

Simpson went on to make 40, but Payne removed both him and James Harris in the space of four balls as Middlesex collapsed once more.

Thilan Walallawita denied Payne his first ever seven-for, even having the temerity to pull him for a huge six into the grandstand - a fleeting dent in an otherwise seam-bowling masterclass.

The tireless Bamber bowled Chris Dent for 25 and had James Bracey caught at mid-on from a loose shot in the chase that followed.

Kragg Brathwaite also departed on the cusp of victory but former Middlesex man Tom Lace hit a flurry of boundaries in his 31 not out to secure the visitors’ fourth win in five matches.


DAY TWO

JAMES Bracey gave the England selectors a timely nudge in front of the Sky TV cameras as Gloucestershire tightened their grip on their clash with Middlesex on day two at Lord’s

Bracey, a reserve on England’s tours of Sri Lanka and India this last winter, passed 50 for the fifth time this season in making 75 to stake a claim for a place in next month’s first Test against New Zealand.

The hero of last week’s successful run chase against Leicestershire, Ian Cockbain made 51, sharing a stand of 91 for the fifth wicket with Bracey, while former Middlesex all-rounder Ryan Higgins bludgeoned 49 as the visitors totalled 273 for a lead of 63.

James Harris claimed his 500th first-class wicket among figures of two for 49 , while Martin Andersson returned three for 64, but Middlesex’s fragile batting saw them collapse to 26 for three by the close, still 37 behind.

Gloucestershire began the day 19-1 and survived a testing first session for the loss of just nightwatchman Matt Taylor, caught behind by John Simpson from the bowling of Andersson.

Harris broke through soon after the resumption, having West Indies Test captain Kragg Brathwaite brilliantly caught in the gully by Sam Robson for 33 off an uncharacteristically wild slash.

Murtagh then trapped Tom Lace lbw and Gloucestershire would have been 109-5 had Bracey, then on 36 been snapped up at gully, but the chance went to ground.

The wicketkeeper cashed in on his reprieve, moving to 50 from 115 balls with the help of a towering six off left-arm spinner Thilan Walallawita.

Cockbain was even more fluent, a gorgeous cover-drive one of eight boundaries in his 50 from 78 balls, before Harris bowled him with a beautiful in-swinger to claim his personal milestone.

Bracey threw his wicket away soon after tea, hooking Andersson to Harris at fine leg, but Higgins’ typically aggressive contribution ensured Gloucestershire’s handy advantage.

Middlesex were soon in trouble second time around Higgins trapping Robson lbw for just eight.

The out of form Max Holden got into a horrible position to be caught and bowled by David Payne and skipper Peter Handscomb’s wretched run continued when he was caught behind off Taylor leaving the group two leaders scenting a fourth win of the season ahead of day three.


DAY ONE

Robbie White registered his fourth consecutive half-century to hold Middlesex’s innings together as they clambered to 210 all out in their LV= County Championship clash against Gloucestershire at Lord’s.

White was the only batsman to look comfortable against Gloucestershire’s seam attack, but he was denied another tilt at a maiden first-class hundred after being left high and dry with an unbeaten 76.

David Payne finished with five for 31, his best figures of the season, while Ryan Higgins and Matt Taylor picked up two wickets apiece.

In reply, Gloucestershire lost captain Chris Dent, run out attempting a rash single to midwicket, but Kraigg Brathwaite and nightwatchman Taylor saw them to 19 for one at stumps.

With heavy cloud cover in the morning, it was little surprise that Dent opted to insert the home side and unleash his quartet of seamers after winning the toss.

Sam Robson and Max Holden grafted through an attritional 40 minutes before rain held up play and, when the action resumed, it took Higgins just two balls to make the breakthrough, trapping Robson leg before.

Holden was unlucky to be given out lbw shortly before lunch, offering no shot to a Taylor delivery that appeared to be sailing over the stumps.

Peter Handscomb’s struggle for runs continued, the Middlesex skipper losing his off peg for 11 after an ill-judged leave to Payne.

The left-armer also picked up the wicket of Nick Gubbins, who was bogged down in making 18 before his outside edge flew to second slip, where George Hankins juggled but held on.

However, White timed his shots sweetly, cutting and driving with increased confidence as the overhead conditions improved and building a partnership of 39 with John Simpson.

That stand ended when Simpson, who had just driven spinner Tom Smith back down the ground for four, was pinned in front of his stumps as the next one kept low.

White added another 42 with Martin Andersson, who was lbw for 20 when Taylor returned from the Nursery End and then advanced into familiar territory, passing 50 by drilling Daniel Worrall to the cover boundary.

Payne’s inswinger castled James Harris – recalled following another injury setback for Toby Roland-Jones, who was due to undergo a knee operation – and he finished off the innings by dismissing Thilan Walallawita and Tim Murtagh in the space of three balls.

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