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Exciting finale in prospect at Durham

Middlesex CCC

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Middlesex were made to sweat as they began their pursuit of 118 to win an enthralling LV= County Championship Division One match against hosts Durham.

They lost both openers without a run on the board and reached 58 for five at the close after a two-day win had looked likely until 50 minutes were lost to rain either side of tea.

Durham emerged at 4:30pm with all guns blazing as Callum Thorp and Scott Borthwick put on 60 in eight overs and, from 119 for seven when the rain arrived, they went on to make 200.

Steven Finn took the last two wickets to finish with 4-80, his victims including his rival for an England place Graham Onions, who had his off bail trimmed by a beauty.

Steven Finn

Steven Finn claimed four second-innings wickets for Middlesex at Durham, where a thrilling finale was in prospect heading into the third morning

Onions struck with the third delivery of Middlesex's innings, having Sam Robson caught at second slip. Yet he was not at full throttle and it was Chris Rushworth who took the next three wickets.

Chris Rogers also departed third ball, cutting a short wide one to point where Will Smith held a good low catch.

Left-handers Dawid Malan and Eoin Morgan both fell lbw, the former offering no shot to a straight one and the latter playing across an in-swinger.

With the score on 34 for four Durham lost Ben Stokes to what looked like a repeat of last season's hand injury. He dived to his right in an attempt to catch a fierce drive from Joe Denly, which was just off the ground, and immediately ran off. The initial diagnosis was a dislocated finger.

Denly departed shortly afterwards, edging Thorp to second slip to make it 38 for five, but with six overs left Toby Roland-Jones emerged to make an unbeaten 15.

In the morning Onions did not come on until Middlesex's overnight pair had added 33 very useful runs after they resumed on 144 for seven.

Coming on after Thorp had made the breakthrough by having Gareth Berg caught behind for 37, Onions needed only 13 balls to take the last two wickets. Middlesex were all out for 185, giving them a handy lead of 83.

With 40 minutes to bat before lunch, Durham reached 32 for two. Finn's first ball was a leg-side wide and Smith hooked the next for six, but two balls later he steered a steeply-bouncing delivery to second slip.

For the second time in the match Mark Stoneman was caught behind off Tim Murtagh, and Gordon Muchall's nightmare run continued when Finn took out his off stump with the second ball after lunch.

Stokes and Dale Benkenstein added 36 in five overs before the former got carried away and skied a catch to backward point when trying to pull Roland-Jones.

Although his nine overs cost 54 runs, Roland-Jones also had Paul Collingwood lbw for 14 and bowled Michael Richardson. He could not have expected to be batting by the end of the day, but by surviving comfortably he made a mockery of what had gone before.

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