County Championship: Raine strikes as Leicestershire gain advantage against Middlesex
|Specsavers County Championship Division Two, Fischer County Ground (day three):|
|Leicestershire 427& 186: Dexter 38; Murtagh 3-27|
|Middlesex 233 & 82-3; Eskinazi 35*; Raine 2-27|
|Leicestershire (7 pts) lead Middlesex (3 pts) by 299 runs|
Ben Raine struck twice for Leicestershire to leave Middlesex struggling on 82-3 as they chase a victory target of 381.
Middlesex trailed by 196 but improved with the ball second time around, dismissing Leicestershire for just 186.
Tim Murtagh was the star bowler once again, his three wickets taking his match tally to eight.
And it was only some late defiance from Zak Chappell (37 not out) that took the hosts' total towards the 200 mark.
Middlesex's hard work was soon undone, with Raine having Max Holden caught behind for a duck and also removing England's Dawid Malan in the same manner to leave the visitors needing another 299 for victory.
Leicestershire all-rounder Ben Raine:
"Our first innings was a top drawer effort on this pitch, but while it's starting to go up and down, it's not yet as much as we'd hoped for. That said they bowled really well today, it was high quality stuff, and like them we showed later on that there is something there for the bowlers.
"Neil Dexter and I added a bit of impetus to the innings, it doesn't come off every time but it did today, and then for Zak Chappell and Gavin Griffiths to contribute with the bat in the way they did shows just how well they're developing as cricketers.
"We did feel we left a few runs out there but, if they get that target, they'll have batted very very well. We could have buried them with another 50 runs, or if we'd taken all our catches in the first innings, but it's exciting to think we have a lot of improvement in us.
"It was great to get Malan at the end, it's so exciting to put yourself up against players of that class, and to bowl him a good ball and get him out was massive for me. One of the best wickets in my career."
Middlesex head coach Richard Scott:
"It was apparent last night that the first two days just weren't good enough from us, and the lads came back and did what they said they were going to do in the field, make Leicestershire fight for every run.
"The whole bowling unit functioned, as opposed to the first innings, when it was really only "Murts". We fielded well too, and could have bowled them out for 150. Then we applied ourselves with the bat and made them work hard for the wickets they've got. We need another 300 and you never know.
"If I knew why we were so much better second time around, we wouldn't have functioned like that on day one in the first place. Had we bowled like we did today we could have bowled them out for 200 first time around.
"It was important the truth was told at the end of day two. It was, and it had an impact on our performance. It was where we should be at day in, day out."