County Round-up: Tim Murtagh opens the way for Middlesex's shock victory

 

Worcestershire captain Daryl Mitchell paid a high price for his enterprise as his side were dismissed for 150 to give Middlesex an 132-run win in yesterday's First Division at Lord's.

Worcestershire were well placed to hold out for a draw after the third day of a game hit by rain and bad light. They were 45 for 2 in reply to Middlesex's 327 for 7 declared. But an overnight declaration by the visitors and a Middlesex forfeiture produced a target of 283 which, although comfortable in terms of run rate, proved to be way beyond Worcestershire's scope. The end came midway through the afternoon session.

Worcestershire's openers never looked comfortable and Michael Klinger perished leg before in the ninth over to Tim Murtagh. The paceman struck again in his next over, Mitchell edging an away swinger to Dawid Malan at second slip. Their hopes rested squarely on the third-wicket pair, Vikram Solanki and Moeen Ali, and when they fell in successive overs, leaving the score on a precarious 35 for 4, Middlesex scented victory.

Catches from England captain Andrew Strauss accounted for both Solanki and Moeen to give Gareth Berg a wicket in his second over and Toby Roland-Jones one with his fifth ball. Berg was kept on and rewarded the faith of his captain, Chris Rogers, with a fine delivery which Matthew Pardoe edged to John Simpson behind the stumps. James Cameron, having hit six fours in his innings of 30, became Roland-Jones's second victim when he was leg before to a ball which moved back into him.

Worcestershire's position looked even more hopeless when they sank to 96 for 8, with Steven Finn dismissing Richard Jones after a brilliant catch in the gully by Neil Dexter and bowling Alan Richardson three balls later.

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