County Championship: Ben Stokes in the wickets but Middlesex strike back

Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes will captain England against New Zealand on the same ground in the first Test next month
LV= County Championship Division Two, Lord's (day three)
Durham 350 & 25-3: Roland-Jones 3-7
Middlesex 422: Robson 84, Holden 71, QAndersson 62; Stokes 4-72
Durham (5pts)trail Middlesex (7pts) by 47 with seven wickets standing
Match scorecard

Toby Roland-Jones tore through Durham's top order at Lord's to strengthen Middlesex's chances of pressing for victory on the final day of their County Championship clash.

Roland-Jones dismissed the first three batters, including England's Alex Lees for one, in quick succession to leave them reeling at 18-3 in their second innings after Middlesex had secured a handy lead of 72.

That advantage was secured by Sam Robson, who came close to registering a third consecutive Championship hundred with 84, and Max Holden, whose 71 was his third half-century of the campaign.

Martin Andersson built on those solid foundations by hitting a belligerent 62, while Ben Stokes finished with 4-72, but the England Test captain's qualities with the bat may also be required if Durham, who closed on 25-3, are to save the game.

Stokes delivered a fiery initial spell from the Nursery End after Middlesex began the day at 88-2, sending down a bouncer that dealt Robson a glancing blow on the chest.

Robson recovered to reach his 50, driving the all-rounder through gully for four, but he lost overnight partner Josh de Caires soon afterwards, caught behind swishing at a Stokes delivery that seamed and left him.

Middlesex skipper Peter Handscomb also departed during the morning session, bowled around his legs for 14 to provide some reward for a tidy stint by Ben Raine.

However, Holden eased himself into the groove, looking productive on both sides of the wicket and nudging Matt Salisbury twice to the third man boundary as he and Robson put together a partnership of 63.

Although Raine returned to have Robson caught behind, Holden progressed to his half-century, surviving a close call when he pulled Stokes and Brydon Carse, fielding on the square leg boundary, could only assist the ball over the rope.

The left-hander's good fortune ran out when Chris Rushworth (3-60) took the new ball, persuading him to nibble at a rising delivery outside off stump and hand Ned Eckersley his third catch of the day.

John Simpson's dismissal immediately after tea, neatly caught on the fence by Raine for 41, slowed Middlesex's scoring rate, but Andersson raised it again by clattering Carse for a flurry of boundaries to overtake Durham's total of 350.

Andersson drove Salisbury for successive fours, lifting his partnership with Hollman (41) to exactly 100 and equalling Middlesex's record eighth-wicket stand against Durham, but the seamer took instant revenge, bowling him through the gate.

Stokes removed Hollman and Tim Murtagh to wrap up the innings for 422 before Roland-Jones cemented Middlesex's advantage by having both openers caught behind in his first over.

Keegan Petersen was the third batter to depart, lbw to Roland-Jones for five, but Scott Borthwick and nightwatchman Salisbury battled through to stumps.

Report supplied by the ECB Reporters' Network.

Top Stories