Toby Roland-Jones cuts loose as Middlesex aim high against Northants

Northamptonshire 283 & 88-4 Middlesex 543-7 dec

wantage road

Assuming Northamptonshire's survival qualities do not improve substantially, Middlesex will expect to regain top place in the First Division of the County Championship with a fourth win in six matches.

They have the struggling promoted side four wickets down and still 172 runs behind after their ruthless punishment of Northamptonshire's bowling earlier in the day set up a lead of 260.

There were career-best innings for Neil Dexter and Toby Roland-Jones, in the latter's case a second of the match after his medium pace claimed six wickets for 55 on Monday. The four sixes struck by Roland-Jones in his 30-ball 60 doubled his career tally, having hit four in 43 first-class matches before today.

Dexter and Joe Denly had dominated the morning session, turning an overnight deficit of 21 runs into a lead of 99 by adding 120 runs in the first session without giving a chance. Dexter completed a 195-ball hundred with the last ball before lunch, after which Denly fell to the second ball of the afternoon, caught at slip off Andrew Hall for 70 – his previous highest this season having been eight.

But it was when Roland-Jones swung the bat that Northamptonshire began to suffer seriously. He despatched James Middlebrook over the boundary rope off consecutive balls and treated Maurice Chambers and Hall with similar disdain as the pair added 94 in 47 balls.

Their assault ended with the Middlesex seamer holing out to long-on, prompting a declaration. Dexter finished on 163 not out while Chambers ended up with 0 for 107, which may be a career-worst, or somewhere very close.

Northamptonshire were left with 36 overs to survive simply to take the match into a fourth day and their cause did not begin well when Middlebrook was bowled first ball off an inside edge facing Tim Murtagh.

Roland-Jones continued to put his signature on the match with his seventh and eighth wickets, but Matt Spriegel and Rob Newton got their heads down for an hour and a half to ensure that a three-day defeat was avoided. Spriegel fell to the last ball of the day bowled by Denly, an inside edge that bounced off his boot to Ollie Rayner at first slip.

Sky Sports Sixes League

Derbyshire's Marcus North has taken an early lead in the Sky Sports Sixes League as he cleared the boundary six times in his innings of 90 against Leicestershire at Grace Road in the NatWest T20 Blast. Nestled in just behind him is Jason Roy, the competition's leading run-scorer who has passed fifty in both his innings so far. England and Middlesex's Eoin Morgan impressed in front of the cameras this week with 77 from just 43 deliveries against Essex at Lord's.

Player (county)/6s/Balls

Marcus North (Derby) 6/47

Jason Roy (Surrey) 6/90

Eoin Morgan (Middx) 4/72

Jordan Clark (Lancs) 3/20

Ravi Bopara (Essex) 3/24

Josh Cobb (Leics) 3/28

David Willey (Northants) 3/28

Matt Coles (Hants) 3/29

Michael Lumb (Notts) 3/29

Scott Styris (Leics) 3/31

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own