Middlesex draw positives from Helm's late haul against Derbyshire
- Credit: PA
Tom Helm’s late flurry of wickets was not enough to force a Middlesex victory as Derbyshire held on to draw their LV= Insurance County Championship Division Two opener.
Helm struck three times in 19 balls to give the Seaxes the upper hand after half-centuries by Shan Masood (62) and Wayne Madsen (54) had threatened to secure the visitors’ first Lord’s success in 20 years.
Pursuing a target of 356 from 88 overs, Derbyshire reached 197 for two just after tea – but Helm’s fiery spell forced them to abandon hopes of victory.
Middlesex’s bowlers – minus skipper Tim Murtagh, who pulled up injured early on in the chase – pressed hard, but were unable to make further inroads as Leus du Plooy and Anuj Dal dug in to steer their side to safety at 255 for five.
The home side extended their second innings by just six overs in the morning, with not-out batters Robbie White (81) and Max Holden (82) both falling to Sam Conners in pursuit of quick runs.
Another 57 were added, largely thanks to some clean striking by John Simpson (23 not out) and Toby Roland-Jones (17no) before Murtagh waved them in at 258 for five.
However, Murtagh himself was soon back in the pavilion after pulling up in the ninth over and Masood settled into the groove, dominating his partnership of 81 with Billy Godleman as Middlesex searched in vain for a breakthrough.
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That finally arrived in the third over after lunch as Ethan Bamber – having already beaten the bat several times – persuaded Masood to flick on the leg side and Simpson took a diving catch.
Godleman briefly took up the baton with a couple of boundaries off Bamber, but the skipper (38) then attempted to cut the first ball of Roland-Jones’ second spell and was caught in the slips.
After a slow start, Madsen began to go for his shots, employing the reverse sweep to good effect against spinner Josh de Caires and reaching his half-century just after tea with a crisp straight drive for four off Roland-Jones.
But Helm raised Middlesex’s hopes with a trio of wickets, including those of Madsen who was leg before and Brooke Guest (43), smartly taken by Stephen Eskinazi at first slip after the pair had shared a stand of 91.
That left Derbyshire to survive 27 more overs and – although Dal got away with a loose shot that narrowly eluded Helm at deep square leg – handshakes were exchanged with five of those still unbowled.