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Lancashire work their way back

Middlesex CCC

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Lancashire's batsmen continued to fightback in the LV= County Championship Division One meeting with Middlesex at Lord's by closing to within 210 runs of their opponents’ total.

The defending champions made comfortably their best start of the season after dismissing the hosts for 446, but will need to bat deep into tomorrow's play to retain hope of a reasonable run-chase and enhance their chances of avoiding relegation.

The tactical decision to drop Paul Horton down the order to number three and open with Luke Procter and Tom Smith paid dividends as the pair batted into the 37th over and put on a dedicated 95 runs, only for both men to fall in the space of seven balls 30 minutes before tea.

Ashwell Prince

Ashwell Prince reached the close with an unbeaten fifty to his name and remains key to Lancashire's hopes of first-innings parity at Lord's

But Horton and Ashwell Prince added another 130 until the former fell to Steven Crook's sharp lifter for 64 to bring in Karl Brown.

Prince, undefeated on 57, will face a crucial period with Brown in the morning, with the new ball becoming available three overs into play.

Procter had made 30 from 119 balls with a single four when he guided a catch to second slip from Crook's bouncer.

Smith then advanced on a deliberate wide ball from left-arm spinner Ravi Patel and was stumped for 55 while overbalancing.

It was only Lancashire's second 50-run opening stand of the summer and it bettered the 61 compiled by Horton and Stephen Moore against Worcestershire mid-July.

Horton and Prince began quietly before putting on the last 82 of their runs at a rate of more than six-an-over.

Middlesex earlier secured full batting points for the first time this season, while the Red Rose achieved their final bowling point with only nine balls to spare.

Glen Chapple removed Neil Dexter for 125 with his eighth ball of the day after Middlesex resumed on 389 for six. He finished with 5-86 after comprehensively bowling the last two batsmen, Toby Roland-Jones going for 10 and Patel for 20.

Ajmal Shahzad should have had Crook caught by Horton at first slip when he was at 46 in the morning's third over but, after the former Lancashire man posted a brisk fifty from 64 balls, the same combination undid him for 66.

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