Mushtaq puts Middlesex in a spin

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The Independent Online

Sussex remain favourites for victory after the third day's play in the Division One match in the Frizzell County Championship at Lord's, despite a superb spell of bowling from Middlesex's Simon Cook.

Sussex remain favourites for victory after the third day's play in the Division One match in the Frizzell County Championship at Lord's, despite a superb spell of bowling from Middlesex's Simon Cook.

Going into the final day the game is finally balanced with Middlesex requiring a further 251 runs and Sussex needing to take nine wickets if either side are to achieve victory.

However, Sussex must have been hoping for a much bigger lead, but they suffered a mid-innings collapse, thanks mainly to Cook.

He took five wickets for 51 runs as the visitors lost their last seven wickets for just 29 runs.

The day began well for Sussex, who snapped up the remaining two Middlesex wickets for only 17 runs to give them a first innings lead of 102 - both fell to Mushtaq Ashmed who finished with five wickets for 66 runs.

Ben Scott (13) was first to go, caught at forward short leg, as he pushed forward, got an inside edge and the ball looped up to Adams.

This happened after Melvyn Betts had been dropped in the previous over by Tony Cottey, when on 13.

Three balls later, Glenn McGrath was the last man out, beaten by the top-spinner and trapped leg before wicket having scored just four.

Opener Richard Montgomerie set off quickly in Sussex's second innings, hitting successive boundaries in the second over bowled by Cook, one a neat square cut and the other a glorious straight drive.

Ian Ward at the other end was fairly methodical in his approach and it was not until the sixth over that he struck his first boundary, clipping Cook - who was struggling with his line from the Pavilion End- off his legs.

The first wicket fell in the 17th over when Cook, having switched ends, trapped Montgomerie lbw for 34.

The opener was beaten by a ball which swung back and kept low to leave Sussex on 51 for one.

Sussex suffered a blow just 15 runs later, as Ward was run out for 28 - it was a disappointing end for the former England opener who looked set for another big score at headquarters.

His partner, Tony Cottey called him for a quick single, but he was beaten by a direct hit from Betts running round from midwicket.

Murray Goodwin (six) was out soon after lunch when he drove straight at Ed Joyce at extra cover off the bowling of Ben Hutton.

Captain Chris Adams came out to join Cottey and the pair of them showed some resilience as they steered the visitors to 167 before Adams became Cook's second victim.

Adams (54) had played quite beautifully up until then, with a well-deserved half century, with some brilliant boundaries.

But he tried one too many as Cook pitched a delivery in short and the batsman only succeeded in skying a hook straight to Hutton at midwicket.

As in the first innings, this signalled the start a Sussex collapse.

Matt Prior was the next to go, for a duck, when he was deceived by a ball which was pushed through and kept low from off-spinner Jamie Dalrymple.

The wicketkeeper was lbw to leave Sussex on 167 for five.

Only 12 runs were added before Cottey was caught at first slip by Shah off the bowling of Cook.

It was a sad end to a determined innings by the Welshmen, who faced 127 balls for his 42, with just four boundaries.

The same combination accounted for Mushtaq - out without scoring - just four balls later as the spinner tried to drive through mid-off.

Mark Davis (eight) was next to fall, again caught at slip, but this time by Hutton.

He became Cook's fifth wicket of the innings and the Middlesex seamer had taken four wickets in the session from just 23 balls - conceding only three runs.

Soon after tea, Middlesex polished off the final two wickets, first Mohammed Akram (two) fell to a smart catch in the gully off the bowling of Betts and then McGrath snapped up the Kirtley (nine), again caught at slip by Hutton as Sussex were dismissed for 196.

This left Middlesex needing to score 299 runs for victory from a maximum 119 overs.

The in-form Mushtaq was introduced by Adams in the 9th over and soon took the wicket of Hutton, caught close in by Cottey for 10.

By the close, Middlesex were on 48 for one, with Koenig and Shah unbeaten on 23 and eight respectively.

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