Payne's career-best haul punishes Middlesex
- Credit: PA
New dad David Payne has double reason to celebrate after career-best match figures of 11-87 saw Gloucestershire crush Middlesex by seven wickets on day three at Lord’s.
Payne, who missed last week’s thrilling win over Leicestershire to be at the birth of his first-born, has two match balls to take home to his daughter after adding 6-56 to his first innings five-wicket haul.
His endeavours meant the hosts were scuttled out for just 152 on Saturday, after morning rain delayed the start until 1:10pm.
Gloucestershire knocked off the 90 runs needed in the final session for the loss of three wickets to cement their place as LV= Insurance County Championship Group Two leaders.
Once the rain stopped it didn’t take long for the storm clouds to gather over Middlesex’s brittle batting line-up once more.
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Ryan Higgins had nightwatchman Ethan Bamber caught behind for a 26-ball duck in the fifth over of the day, before Payne took centre stage once more to remove the in-form Robbie White who was caught on the crease and could only plant an inside edge into his off stump.
To his credit, Nick Gubbins tried to launch a counter offensive, twice unfurling three boundaries in an over, first from Payne and then Higgins, with a couple of his cover drives especially pleasing on the eye.
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John Simpson caught the mood, playing positively from the off, the pair running with real intent between the wickets to turn ones into twos as they raised the 50-stand at a run a ball.
Gubbins reached 50 from 97 balls, but inevitably Payne snuffed out the revival trapping him lbw, from one which looked to strike the left-hander outside the line.
Simpson went on to make 40, but Payne removed both him and James Harris in the space of four balls as Middlesex collapsed once more.
Thilan Walallawita denied Payne his first ever seven-for, even having the temerity to pull him for a huge six into the grandstand - a fleeting dent in an otherwise seam-bowling masterclass.
The tireless Bamber bowled Chris Dent for 25 and had James Bracey caught at mid-on from a loose shot in the chase that followed.
Kragg Brathwaite also departed on the cusp of victory but former Middlesex man Tom Lace hit a flurry of boundaries in his 31 not out to secure the visitors’ fourth win in five matches.
Payne said: "It was a difficult decision to come here having only had my daughter on Saturday and only had a few days with her, but I feel like it was the right thing now. To get 11 wickets is more than I could have ever expected.
"I feel in a confident place with my cricket. I’m confident enough that I can have two weeks away and still know I’m not going to have lost my skills. I’ve played long enough now and have the experience to know what I need to do.
"I look at the slope here and it always makes me feel the ball is going to do something."
Middlesex head coach Stuart Law added: "We didn’t get enough runs in the first innings. The wicket did plenty that first day, but I still think we should have scored another 50-100 runs on that pitch.
"And getting bowled out again for 150 is not good enough. We batted under lights and gloomy skies, but the wicket wasn’t behaving too badly today. We are nowhere near going long enough with the bat in hand.
"Robbie White is a good template for the rest of our batsmen to have a look at. He keeps it very simple and does the basics really well. His technique is suited for when the ball is seaming around."