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Magical Murali mauls Middlesex

Middlesex CCC

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Murali Kartik claimed a five-wicket haul as Surrey battled back in their LV= County Championship Division One London derby against Middlesex at the Kia Oval.

Surrey slumped to 144 all out on the opening day, but responded in fine style today as Middlesex, having resumed on 99 for one, were dismissed for only 232 thanks to Kartik’s 5-69.

Rory Burns and Arun Harinath then cut the overall deficit to just two with an unbroken 73-run stand in the final session as the hosts closed on 86 for one.

Murali Kartik

Murali Kartik appeals for one of his five wickets that dragged Surrey back into their London derby against Middlesex at the Kia Oval today

Left-arm spinner Kartik sparked a Middlesex collapse from 164 for three to 188 for nine before Tim Murtagh and Toby Roland-Jones struck a six and seven fours between them to secure a vital 88-run first-innings lead.

Roland-Jones then removed Zafar Ansari for a duck in a superb new-ball spell, only for left-handers Burns and Harinath to battle impressively and put Surrey in a better-than-expected position going into the third day.

Burns is 40 not out and Harinath 39, and any lead above 150 would be useful on a turning pitch that is sure to have Kartik licking his lips once more.

Middlesex lost Sam Robson to the fourth ball of the day as he fell lbw to Jade Dernbach without adding to his overnight 29, after which Joe Denly was caught at the wicket fencing at a ball from Tim Linley on 17.

Nightwatchman Tom Smith and Dawid Malan added 38 to put Middlesex in a commanding position before the former was bowled for a gutsy 31 by a ball from Kartik that turned sharply.

Malan was caught off the face of the bat at short-leg, playing forward to Kartik, and, despite a few spirited blows from debutant Andrew Balbirnie, the Middlesex first innings was soon looking in terminal decline.

Neil Dexter edged to Jason Roy at slip off Kartik before Balbirnie and Steve Crook fell lbw to successive balls from off-spinner Gareth Batty.

Adam Rossington soon slapped Kartik straight to Batty at short extra-cover for a duck, after which Murtagh and Roland-Jones, heroes with the ball yesterday, provided some unexpected resistance.

Kartik eventually put an end to the fireworks by getting rid of the former for 26, after which Surrey’s revival continued.

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