Roland-Jones rouses Middlesex
Toby Roland-Jones claimed the best figures of his career as Middlesex fought back in the final session on day two of their LV= County Championship Division One match against Sussex at the PROBIZ County Ground.
The 24-year-old seamer took the last two wickets with successive balls to finish with 6-66, only the third five-wicket haul by a Middlesex bowler this summer, as Sussex were all out for 287.
Middlesex duly progressed to 92 for two in their second innings and trail by 35 heading into the penultimate day.
The tall Roland-Jones was the only Middlesex bowler with the height and pace to exploit a pitch again offering good carry and occasionally steep bounce.
He claimed his second wicket of the innings before lunch when Sussex captain Ed Joyce went for 68.
Having earlier been hit in the ribs by a ball from Roland-Jones, the Sussex captain failed to avoid another lifter and gloved a gentle catch to wicketkeeper John Simpson.
Joyce had added 78 in 34 overs with Michael Yardy, who defied Middlesex for four and a half hours on his way to 89.
He lost Luke Wright, caught at second slip pushing forward to Tim Murtagh, but soon progressed past 50 and carried Sussex into the lead during a stand of 40 with Ben Brown for the sixth wicket.
Roland-Jones then made an immediate impact after taking the second new ball. With his fifth delivery he had Brown caught behind before claiming the key wicket of Yardy, who failed to control a pull and was caught at long-leg, having faced 188 balls and hit 10 fours.
Steve Magoffin, who was dropped by Dawid Malan off Gareth Berg on 22, made 35 and James Anyon 29 as Sussex extended their lead beyond 100.
Yet Roland-Jones came back after tea to bowl Anyon and Monty Panesar fell lbw for a golden duck.
Magoffin had earlier under-edged to the keeper to give the persevering Corey Collymore his solitary success.
Openers Chris Rogers and Sam Robson began Middlesex's second innings confidently with a stand of 72 in 18 overs.
However, in his third over, left-arm spinner Panesar made the breakthrough when Rogers was caught behind trying to cut for 48.
Joe Denly, who has only passed 30 once in his last nine championship innings, played on when Steve Magoffin switched ends while nightwatchman Roland-Jones was dropped at short-leg in the penultimate over as Sussex tried to press home their advantage.