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Murtagh terrorises Red Rose

Watch the highlights from the final day

Seamer Tim Murtagh's 6-60 set up Middlesex's 10-wicket win over Lancashire at Lord's, helping to keep the pressure on leaders Yorkshire at the top of LV= County Championship Division One.

Middlesex had to contend with the defiance of Ashwell Prince and Jos Buttler, who contributed 86 and 50 respectively in a sixth-wicket partnership of 117, and a late counter-attack from Lancashire captain/coach Glen Chapple.

But Murtagh did not let up as Lancashire were eventually bowled out for 223 to leave Middlesex openers Sam Robson and Chris Rogers to complete the formality with only 31 required in the hosts' second innings.

The Red Rose were already wilting at lunch, having started the final day on 15 for one and then lost four wickets in the morning session.

Nightwatchman Simon Kerrigan did not stay long, pushing forward and edging Murtagh behind.

Wicketkeeper John Simpson, against his native county, then dropped a routine catch which would have seen Paul Horton depart for 12 off Toby Roland-Jones. 

But the opener was to be fourth out, for the addition of another 20, when Steven Finn trapped him lbw.

In between Karl Brown went the same way, for a duck pushing slightly across Roland-Jones, and Simpson redeemed himself memorably - diving low to his left to take an outstanding one-handed catch off Finn as Luke Procter also went without scoring.

Middlesex drew a blank almost throughout the afternoon session, however, as Prince and Buttler batted with great determination.

They had to be watchful as low bounce remained a hazard.

Prince had moments of fortune when he survived two especially confident lbw appeals, the first by Murtagh before lunch and the second by Roland-Jones when the stoic left-hander was on 34.

Buttler brought up the century stand with successive pulled fours at the start of occasional leg-spinner Dawid Malan's first over.

Prince had also reached a milestone with consecutive boundaries, off Neil Dexter, reaching his half-century in 121 balls.

His partner was operating at only a marginally quicker tempo, continuing his impressive recent form with his second 50 of the match.

Simpson's eventful day continued when he failed to cling on to a tough catch away to his right after Buttler edged Murtagh at the start of a new spell.

Again, though, the missed opportunity was not costly - because three balls later and without addition, Buttler edged this time to slip where Malan was safe.

Murtagh doubled up on the stroke of tea, finding another edge behind to consign Tom Smith to Lancashire's third duck of the innings as, for the second time, the visitors lost two wickets on 162.

Chapple came out swinging after the break as Murtagh and Finn went short.

It worked in a quickfire half-century stand, which put Lancashire in minor credit, until Prince's near-four-hour stay ended when he, too, went after Murtagh, only to hand Simpson his fourth catch of the innings and give the bowler his fifth wicket.

The last two then went in successive overs against the second new ball, Chapple missing on the attack to be lbw to Roland-Jones for 32 and Kyle Hogg was Murtagh's final victim.

Speaking after the victory, Malan told ecb.co.uk: “It was an awesome win, especially after last week’s disappointment at Edgbaston. It is extremely satisfying.”

On Murtagh’s sublime showing, he added: “Murts is a legend. He is a genius with the ball when he bowls at Lord’s. He just knows what to do with the slope and where to bowl the ball. He is one of the best going around. All credit to him for what he did in setting us up a great win today.”

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