Specsavers County Championship Division Two, Emirates Old Trafford (day two of four)

Middlesex 337: Simpson 167*, Sowter 52; Bailey 5-78

Lancashire 259 & 14-1: Cummins 1-2

Lancashire (5 pts) trail Middlesex (6 pts) by 64 runs

A career-best score of 167 not out by John Simpson led the Middlesex fightback on day two of their Specsavers County Championship match against Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford.

The 31-year-old hit 26 fours and a six in his knock and helped his side turn a 220-run deficit into a run 78-run lead as the Seaxes were eventually dismissed for 337.

The total was in fact a world record as it’s the highest total by a side after losing their first six wickets for under 40.

Simpson and James Harris added 137 runs for the seventh wicket and saved their side after Middlesex closed last night on 39 for six.

Leg-spinner Matthew Parkinson broke the stand 20 minutes after the lunch break. He bowled Harris for 32.

The Middlesex tail made life extremely difficult for the Lancashire bowling attack as the last three wickets added 120 runs. This included a record ninth wicket partnership for Middlesex against Lancashire. Simpson and spinner Nathan Sowter (52) added 94 runs, surpassing the 83 set by Hugh Bromley-Davenport and Cyril Wells at Lord’s in 1896.

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Lancashire’s openers Keaton Jennings and Alex Davies had a tricky eight over spell to negotiate before stumps.

Davies fell five balls into the innings and the score read one for one. He mistimed a pull shot off Cummins and Harris took a comfortable catch at deep fine-leg.

Jennings (7*) and night-watchman Saqib Mahmood (5*) saw out the remaining 43 deliveries and Lancashire closed on 14 for one – still 64 runs adrift.

WHAT THEY SAID

After a frustrating day, Parkinson said: “It was a long afternoon. When you get a side six down at the start of play you don’t think you’ll be fielding at five in the afternoon. It was a tough day but the lads are pleased to have won the Division Two title.

“It says a lot about how well Tom Bailey bowled yesterday. The wicket has got better. I don’t think we bowled badly today but obviously John Simpson batted very well. Our plan was to bowl them out before lunch and then bat big but that wasn’t the case.
“Fingers crossed the lads can bat well tomorrow and from a selfish point of view it would be nice to bowl on day four. It turned a bit today and as the game goes on you’d hope it would turn more on day four.”

 

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Picture credit: Barry Mitchell

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