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MIDDLESEX V YORKSHIRE | MATCH REPORT - 19-04-2024

MIDDLESEX V YORKSHIRE | MATCH REPORT

Match report provided by the ECB Reporters Network.


DAY THREE

MIDDLESEX WIN BY 6 WICKETS - Middlesex 19 points - Yorkshire 3 points

Middlesex 246 & 158-4

Yorkshire 159 & 244

Leus Du Plooy and Ryan Higgins steered Middlesex to six-wicket victory over Vitality County Championship Division Two favourites Yorkshire on an absorbing day three at Lord’s.

Hungarian citizen Du Plooy and the Zimbabwean-born Higgins, shared a match-winning stand of 59 just as the Seaxes were wobbling at 77-3 in pursuit of 158 to win in this low-scoring encounter.

Du Plooy fell eight short of 50 with victory in sight, but Higgins remained 33 not out when Stephen Eskinazi made the winning runs. Ben Coad’s 2-20 led a spirited attempt by the visitors to defend the tally, but in the end they didn’t have enough on the board.

The chase came after Yorkshire, who resumed on 216-7 were dismissed in the first 40 minutes of the day for 244, George Hill last man out after extending his overnight 52 to 75 with several well struck boundaries, Middlesex skipper Toby Roland-Jones finishing with 3-78.

The win marks a significant moment for Middlesex. Relegated from the top tier last year after gleaning only five batting bonus points – three of those in the final game of the season – they had surpassed that total in the first two games of this against a Kookaburra ball rendered impotent by placid surfaces.

This however was in many ways the acid test, a fourth innings run chase in a game where batting had proved difficult against just about everyone’s tip for the laurels.

It should probably come as no surprise that Du Plooy, the man brought in over the winter to shore up the batting ranks, combined with Higgins, so often the sole contributor in 2023, to get Middlesex over the line.

There was drama first ball of the chase when Shan Masood brilliantly fielded Nathan Fernandes’s cover-drive and shied at the stumps, the suspicion being the youngster would have been short of his ground had the throw hit, despite a full-length dive. Two balls later however, Mark Stoneman was trapped lbw to Coad for nought giving the visitors a dream start.

A tense 75 minutes unfolded as Fernandes and Holden resisted against probing bowling. Holden calmed home nerves with a couple of glorious cover-drives, before being given a life on 17 when gloving a short one from Mickey Edwards only for Jonathan Tattersall to spill the gift and allow the hosts to lunch on 40-1.

When battle resumed it was just as tense, Fernandes and Holden defiant in defence, getting a big stride in as often as possible to negate any swing. The partnership crept to 50 before four overthrows from a sharp Holden single added to the visitors’ growing sense of frustration.

The tension though would tell on Fernandes, who, bogged down, hooked an innocuous short ball from Thompson down the throat of Hill at long leg. Du Plooy might have followed him a few balls later to an identical shot which to his relief carried a few yards further and cleared the rope.

Coad returned to have Holden caught behind from one that bounced on him and was taken by Tattersall standing up, in the aftermath of which time seemed to stand still as disciplined bowling to a well-set field suffocated attempts to score.

Boundaries for Ryan Higgins in successive overs from Thompson helped the hosts over 100, those blows seeming to break the shackles as the White Rose which had for so long promised to blossom amid adversity, slowly but inexorably wilted.

Du Plooy slashed one from Moriarty to Adam Lyth at slip on 42, but victory came without further alarms 25 minutes after tea.

Earlier Coad had edged his first ball of the day from Ethan Bamber into the hands of Du Plooy at slip to end an eighth-wicket stand of 62 and thereafter only the aggression of Hill pushed Yorkshire’s lead beyond 150.


DAY TWO

Ryan Higgins struck twice in successive balls, including the scalp of Harry Brook for a golden duck, while Toby Roland-Jones also captured three wickets as Middlesex maintained the upper hand in their Vitality County Championship game against Yorkshire.

Medium-pacer Higgins, who picked up four wickets in the visitors’ first innings, dismissed Finlay Bean and Brook either side of tea at Lord’s, while Roland-Jones’ three victims included Joe Root as Yorkshire slumped to 83 for five second time around.

George Hill led the White Rose fightback in the evening session with a patient unbeaten 52 to lift them to 216 for seven at stumps, an advantage of 129.

Earlier, Jordan Thompson’s five-wicket haul and an impressive spell by Ben Coad, who took four for 59, had bowled Yorkshire back into the game, slicing through the middle order as Middlesex posted 246 despite half-centuries for Leus du Plooy and Josh de Caires.

Resuming on 23 overnight, Du Plooy was up and running again as he hammered Thompson’s second delivery of the morning off the back foot for four to bring up the 50 partnership with Mark Stoneman.

However, Thompson made the breakthrough in his next over, slanting the ball across Stoneman to induce an edge that was gathered low by Adam Lyth, springing to his right at second slip.

Du Plooy, using his feet against the seamers to good effect, reached his half-century from 43 balls – but he soon fell victim to Coad, who sent down an impressive 10-over spell from the Nursery End.

Having already pierced Higgins’ defences, Coad produced another superb delivery that jagged back at Du Plooy to take out his off stump before also pinning Jack Davies leg before moving across.

Those wickets sandwiched that of Stephen Eskinazi, caught in the slips off Thompson without scoring and, at 136 for seven, the first-innings lead which had looked a formality was very much in jeopardy.

However, Roland-Jones led the Middlesex counter-attack by dispatching Mickey Edwards for a string of boundaries, with De Caires following his captain’s lead as the pair shared a stand of 56.

Roland-Jones’ knock of 30 was ended when he offered a return catch to Thompson, but Tom Helm helped De Caires to guide the total beyond 200 and within touching distance of a batting bonus point.

Having posted the second red-ball half-century of his career, De Caires succumbed at once to another snorter from Coad, swinging away to take the edge and, despite Ethan Bamber’s spirited effort with the bat, he was bowled for 11 to give Thompson figures of five of 80.

That left Yorkshire trailing by 93 and they had reduced that by just 13 when Roland-Jones removed Lyth, for the second time in the match, and Shan Masood to bring Root to the middle with the visitors under pressure.

Root took advantage of some stray leg-stump offerings from Helm to get the scoreboard moving as he and Finlay Bean added 46 – only for Higgins to strike with successive deliveries spanning different sessions.

Yorkshire were still in the red when Root departed for 32, miscuing a hook off Roland-Jones and top-edging to De Caires in the slips, but Hill settled down to frustrate the home bowlers with a watchful innings.

He lost Jonny Tattersall, castled misjudging a straight ball from Helm, but Thompson hit a valuable 26 and Coad struck a belligerent 38 not out to keep Yorkshire hopes intact going into day three.


DAY ONE

England duo Joe Root and Harry Brook both failed with the bat for Yorkshire as Middlesex took control by bowling the visitors out for 159 on the opening day of their Vitality County Championship clash at Lord’s.

Root made only five before he fell to Tom Helm, while Brook – who averaged 97 in his three previous innings for the White Rose this season – was caught in the slips off Ethan Bamber for three.

Middlesex’s Ryan Higgins finished with four for 31, with Toby Roland-Jones taking three for 49 to dismiss their opponents in just 37.4 overs on a rain-shortened first day.

Jordan Thompson and Mickey Edwards struck back with a wicket apiece in the Seaxes’ reply, but Mark Stoneman and Leus du Plooy shared an unbroken partnership of 47 to guide them to 84 for two at stumps.

With plenty of cloud cover in the morning – and the Dukes ball back in operation for the first time this season – it was little surprise that Middlesex skipper Roland-Jones put the visitors in after winning the toss.

But, although Roland-Jones trapped Adam Lyth in front of his stumps for 15, he and Bamber initially struggled to establish control and Yorkshire rattled along at almost a run a ball until heavy rain and a brief hailstorm intervened at 41 for one.

It was a different story once play resumed at 2pm, with Roland-Jones bowling Finlay Bean off an inside edge before Helm – finding some movement from the Nursery End – tempted Root to steer one straight to gully.

Brook’s brief stay at the crease was a torrid one, with his first delivery from Helm soaring off the surface to zip past the bat and the next did take the edge, only to drop short of second slip.

But Bamber’s reintroduction paid immediate dividends as Brook drove his first ball into the hands of the diving Du Plooy at second slip and Shan Masood, having batted well for his 33, was lbw to one that kept low in the seamer’s next over.

When Higgins struck twice in three deliveries, removing both Jonny Tattersall and then Thompson leg before, Yorkshire had lost five wickets for 34 and it was largely thanks to Ben Coad’s counter-attack that they clambered above 150.

Coad clubbed Bamber for successive boundaries in his knock of 24 from 18 balls before he and George Hill both fell to Higgins and Roland-Jones ended Dan Moriarty’s brief flurry by having him caught in the slips for 14 to wrap up Yorkshire’s innings.

Teenager Nathan Fernandes, who posted a maiden century on debut at Northamptonshire last week, was first to depart in the home side’s reply as Thompson found a way through his defences.

Max Holden struck Thompson for three boundaries, but the left-hander’s rhythm appeared to be disrupted after being sent back in the quest for a quick single off Mickey Edwards and he feathered the next one behind.

That wicket preceded another rain delay, but the players returned for nine more overs, during which Stoneman and Du Plooy shaved another 47 runs off the deficit to reach stumps on 38 and 23 respectively.

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