A stylish and talented middle-order batsman, Neil Dexter has been sparingly used as a bowler, despite possessing respectable medium pace.
It has been a useful asset for Middlesex at times, however, never more so than at Trent Bridge yesterday, when he took five wickets in the space of 21 balls to push Nottinghamshire to the brink of defeat.
Dexter was helped by some poor batting on Nottinghamshire’s part as James Taylor and Riki Wessels followed the lead of Samit Patel in getting out to poor shots, before Chris Read was leg before, three wickets falling in the same over. Ajmal Shahzad became victim No 5 for Dexter, whose previous best in first-class games had been 3 for 23.
Batsman of the day
John Simpson, the Middlesex wicketkeeper, did not register a single half-century last summer and has not made a hundred since April 2011, so it was understandable that he should feel both frustrated but relieved when he ran out of partners as Middlesex were bowled out for 353 at Trent Bridge, the last three wickets falling for five runs.
After hitting nine fours and two sixes, however, he will be pleased that a winter’s hard work on his batting technique looks to be bearing fruit, with the promise of more runs to come.
Team of the day
Durham finished 2012 on a winning run and quietly fancy their chances of being title contenders again this year but they have been largely outplayed by Somerset at Chester-le-Street, bowled out for 116 in their second innings as Alfonso Thomas, who rejected the Indian Premier League to concentrate on his county commitments this year, finished with 4 for 29. Somerset were left needing 235 to win and should finish the job today, weather permitting.