County Championship: Derbyshire batsmen dominate against Middlesex

Ben Slater plays a forward defensive stroke for Derbyshire against Middlesex
Ben Slater (pictured) and Luis Reece's 219-run partnership is a Derbyshire record for the first wicket against Middlesex
Specsavers County Championship Division Two, The 3aaa County Ground, Derby (day three):
Derbyshire 265 & 333-3 dec: Reece 157*, Slater 99, Madsen 52
Middlesex 157 & 86-3: Holden 37*; Olivier 2-25
Middlesex (3 pts) need 356 more runs to beat Derbyshire (5 pts)

Derbyshire closed in on victory against Middlesex after a dominant performance with the bat on day three.

The hosts made easy progress after resuming on 118-0 against a Middlesex attack minus Toby Roland-Jones (sore back) and James Harris (side).

Ben Slater was caught off Ollie Rayner for 99, but Luis Reece's unbeaten 157 helped his side declare on 333-3.

Having set their opponents 442 to win, paceman Duanne Olivier took two wickets as Middlesex closed on on 86-3.

The visitors will be able to call on Roland-Jones and Harris later in their innings, as their injuries are not serious enough to prevent them from batting.

But even with a full-strength order, the 2016 champions remain in serious danger of a first defeat since being relegated from Division One at the end of last season.

Reece's score was just 11 short of his career-best 168, and his six-and-a-half-hour innings featured a six and 10 fours.

Derbyshire centurion Luis Reece told BBC Radio Derby:

"Thankfully me and Ben Slater were able to get a start and we kicked on.

"Credit to the bowlers again - they've gone out there this afternoon and ran in as hard as they could.

"We've got three wickets so we're well on our way."

Middlesex batsman Max Holden told BBC Radio London:

"It's been a tough day and a tough game for the club, but the lads are pleased with how hard we fought.

"It wasn't easy coming out to bowl with a lot of runs on the board and being a couple of bowlers down, but we showed a lot of fight.

"The guys that could bowl ran in all day and the fielders backed them up. We could have easily rolled over but we managed to keep the run-rate down."