County Championship: Tim Murtagh's six wickets help Middlesex beat Worcestershire

Tim Murtagh
Tim Murtagh took 2-25 in the first innings before starring in the second
Specsavers County Championship Division Two, Blackfinch New Road (day four):
Middlesex 221 & 287-6 dec: Malan 124, Gubbins 91; Leach 2-48
Worcestershire 156 & 225: Whiteley 60, Mitchell 51; Murtagh 6-51
Middlesex (20 pts) beat Worcestershire (3 pts) by 127 runs

Tim Murtagh's new-ball burst blew away Worcestershire's top order to set up Middlesex's first County Championship win of the summer.

Murtagh took the first five wickets of Worcestershire's second innings as the hosts, chasing 353 to win, were eventually dismissed for 225.

Ross Whiteley offered some resistance for Joe Leach's side with 60.

But Murtagh returned for a second spell and removed captain Leach to help seal victory for Dawid Malan's Middlesex.

Middlesex declared on their overnight score of 287-6, giving them the whole of the final day to bowl the home side out after rain had washed out much of day three at New Road.

Murtagh reduced Worcestershire to 9-2 before Daryl Mitchell (51) and Callum Ferguson (43) added 83 for the third wicket.

But Murtagh, Tom Helm, Toby Roland Jones and James Harris all struck before Harris claimed the final wicket of Whiteley, who edged to Sam Robson at first slip.

Murtagh ended with 6-51 to leave him with 20 wickets for the season, second in the Division Two wickets chart behind Worcestershire's Charlie Morris, who has 25.

Following their second successive defeat, the Pears drop to third, 19 points behind leaders Lancashire, who they meet in their next game at New Road on 10 June.

Middlesex now have just two free days before they start their next game at home to Sussex at Lord's this Sunday.

Pears first team coach Alex Gidman told BBC Hereford & Worcester:

"It was a disappointing performance all-round really. We were below what we expect of ourselves. The lads have acknowledged that we have performed poorly by our own standards.

"We just didn't get it quite right enough in enough of the disciplines over the course of the three and a bit days. We battled but they are disappointed not seeing the job through.

"We will go away and discuss the areas of our game we need to do better. We will discuss all three disciplines, see what changes and what we can do about it."

Middlesex head coach Stuart Law told BBC Radio London:

"You are always seeking the perfect game and the closer we can get to it, the better we are going to go. We have improved. But there are still some areas there.

"The first innings batting needed to click and not put us under that much pressure in the second dig. We have only got two hundreds in the Championship and the same batsman (Dawid Malan) has got both of them. We need more from the other batters.

"Bowling-wise, whilst we have taken wickets at times, we could have been more consistent. Tom Helm bowled with good pace and control first innings, Tim Murtagh was outstanding as usual. He just gets better with age, like fine red wine. And everyone else chipped in. The catching was pretty good. We only put down a couple of chances. It makes a difference."

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