Murtagh leads the way in Middlesex victory over Leicestershire
- Credit: PA
Acting captain Tim Murtagh led the charge for wickets as Middlesex claimed just a second LV= Insurance County Championship win of the season against Leicestershire at Merchant Taylors’ School.
The old warhorse took four for 36 before limping away from the action just prior to the 121-run win being secured, Leicestershire coming up well short in their pursuit of 293 despite 52 from British-born Australian Josh Inglis.
James Harris weighed in with three for 50 in the success, this after Stephen Eskinazi made 66 in the hosts’ second innings of 196, Callum Parkinson taking 4-35.
Both sides will play in Division Three when the Championship resumes on August Bank Holiday Monday.
Middlesex’s second innings folded quickly on the final morning thanks to three wickets in as many overs for Parkinson.
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Nathan Sowter spooned the third ball of the day into the hands of mid-on before the slow left-armer struck twice in three balls to remove Ethan Bamber and Murtagh.
Leicestershire’s chase got off to the worst possible start when Murtagh bowled Sam Evans for nought, but Marcus Harris, who’d made 185 against the hosts during a successful run chase in the reverse fixture in May, hit five boundaries to send the visitors into lunch 63-1.
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Middlesex though wrestled back control after the resumption. Harris got one to lift from a length, take the shoulder of Lewis Hill’s bat and balloon to Josh De Caires at gully, while Sowter got the prize wicket of Harris for 46 with a peach of a leg-spinner which bowled him through the gate.
Skipper Colin Ackerman also didn’t last long, Murtagh finding the edge of the Foxes’ skipper’s bat to give Robbie White a simple catch.
Dangers still lurked in the shape of Inglis and in-form wicketkeeper/batsman Harry Swindells. but the latter drove loosely at Bamber and was snaffled by Joe Cracknell at first slip.
Inglis though, dropped by Sam Robson at slip on 33, fought hard to reach a first Championship 50 in 79 balls with his seventh four, but Murtagh returned to end his resistance with an out-swinger edged to a diving White, and Parkinson followed next ball bowled by an in-swinger which plucked out middle stump.
Ed Barnes prevented the hat-trick and Murtagh limped off soon afterwards with what appeared to be a calf problem, but Harris picked up the baton as Middlesex mopped up the tail.