Cricket: Middlesex poised for a sweeping success

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The Independent Online
Middlesex 511; Durham 221-7

MIDDLESEX are heading for their second successive Championship win and could manage their latest victory within three days. Durham yesterday ended the second day at Lord's showing a deficit of 290 with only three wickets in hand and will be hard- pressed to avoid the follow-on when they return this morning.

Middlesex had resumed at 389 for 5 and although Mark Ramprakash added only three to his overnight 132, Mark Feltham and Richard Johnson stood firm to put on 96 for the seventh wicket in 25 overs.

Feltham's 71 included 12 fours, while Johnson, who is rapidly confirming his status as a promising all-rounder, made an excellent 29 in the supporting role.

The sole success on a gloomy day for Durham was Simon Brown, who finished off the innings shortly after the lunch interval to return figures of 5 for 113 from his 33.5 overs.

The Durham reply started briskly enough, but then two wickets in five balls by Johnson saw Mark Saxelby out for 17 and John Morris for a duck. When Wayne Larkins then went with the total on 41, Durham found themselves in all kinds of trouble.

Only Anderson Cummins, who struck 63 off 73 deliveries, held up Middlesex for any great length of time and, with another 141 still required to avoid the follow-on, an escape for Durham seems highly unlikely.

Glen Chapple, the former England Under-19 all-rounder, played the lead role for Lancashire against Glamorgan at Colwyn Bay. Chapple, who hit the fastest century of last season against Glamorgan off just 27 balls, yesterday returned Championship best figures of 4 for 51 from 19 overs to dismiss the home side's first four batsmen.

However, a battling unbeaten 53 from David Hemp kept the home side's hopes of saving the follow- on alive - though he was missed on 14, again off Chapple - and their first priority at the crease today is to score 19 runs with three wickets in hand.