Middlesex move into third after thrashing Essex

MIDDLESEX handed Essex an innings defeat in the County Championship at Lord s on Monday and head into the three-week break for the Twenty20 Cup competition in a much more positive frame of mind. Ed Smith s under-fire team are now third in the table after

MIDDLESEX handed Essex an innings defeat in the County Championship at Lord's on Monday and head into the three-week break for the Twenty20 Cup competition in a much more positive frame of mind.

Ed Smith's under-fire team are now third in the table after a second successive win in the second division, but have to wait until until June 29 to resume their County Championship campaign against Northamptonshire at Uxbridge.

Essex resumed their innings on 200-4 on the last day, needing a further 222 runs to avoid an innings defeat.

Tim Murtagh (pictured right) did the damage, claiming four wickets either side of lunch on his way to 10 wickets in the match.


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Mark Pettini and Ryan ten Doeschate put on 120 for the fifth wicket before the former fell for 75. Ten Doeschate reached his first half-century of the season and Alex Tudor contributed an unbeaten 47, but Essex still subsided to an innings defeat.

After resuming on 200-4, Essex avoided mishap for 40 minutes before Pettini drove a Murtagh delivery to mid-wicket.

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Ten Doeschate then added a further 44 with James Foster before they both fell to the second new ball.

Murtagh, who claimed match figures of 10-127, removed them in consecutive overs and followed up with James Middlebrook's wicket immediately after lunch. Tudor and David Masters put on 59 at better than a run a ball for the ninth wicket before Dirk Nannes removed the latter.

And Shaun Udal wrapped things up when he had Danesh Kaneria caught in the deep as Essex were dismissed for 384.

On Friday a six-wicket haul for Murtagh saw Essex bowled out for just 161 on the first day. Murtagh claimed figures of 6-44 from his 16.2 overs, Essex losing their last seven wickets for 30 runs in 72 balls.

In reply, Ed Smith and Billy Godleman then shared a stand of 65 before the former fell, Middlesex finishing the day on 75-1. However, Owais Shah then hit an impressive century, allowing Middlesex to build an imposing first innings lead on Saturday.

The England star hit 144 from 251 balls as the hosts punished a disappointing Essex attack to reach 442-4, a lead of 281.

His chanceless innings finally ended when he was trapped lbw trying to play Danish Kaneria through the leg side.

Ed Joyce added 63 before Alex Tudor bowled him through the gate before Eoin Morgan (62 not out) and Ben Scott (46no) piled on more agony for Essex.

Shah's runs came all around the wicket as he played hardly a false stroke throughout.

None of the Essex bowlers finished the day with impressive figures but Tudor was unlucky, seeing Joyce and Godleman dropped off his deliveries.

Morgan went on make 96 and Ben Scott scored 60 as Middlesex piled up a mighty 583 total in their first innings.

It was the first time the Lord's outfit had passed 500 since the first match in 2007 against Somerset. Udal (31 no) and Berg added useful runs at the end. Dirk Nannes then picked up three wickets in Essex's second innings, including the in-form Ravi Bopara (54), who fell to a poor shot.

The Australian removed Jason Gallian with his first ball of the innings and dismissed Grant Flower for a duck with a fine, inswinging delivery before adding the vital wicket of Bopara. Gareth Berg also weighed in, dismissing Tom Westley for 21, thanks to an agile catch by wicket-keeper Scott low to his right.

Although Mark Pettini and ten Doeschate put on an unbeaten 81 before stumps, Essex found themselves with too much to do on the final day.

pat.mooney@hamhigh.co.uk

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