Vaas pegs Middlesex progress
Middlesex 186 for 6 v Northamptonshire
Scott Newman hit 75, his highest score in the County Championship this season, and Chris Rogers made 67 on a rain-shortened day at Lord's.
However, Chaminda Vaas kept Division Two leaders Northamptonshire in the game against Middlesex - their closest challengers. Newman and Rogers put on 101 runs in 24 overs after Middlesex, who began the game five points behind Northamptonshire with a game in hand, had been put into bat. However Vaas took three wickets in two overs and they closed on 198 for 6.
Rain had delayed the start until after lunch and held up play again in the afternoon but Newman made light of the conditions. The hosts lost Sam Robson early, caught behind down the leg side off Luke Evans - making his first championship appearance of the season in place of the injured Jack Brooks.
Newman, who had made only one championship half-century this summer, had made 75 off 115 balls with 11 fours and a six when he called for a sharp single to extra cover and was run out by Alex Wakeley's direct hit.
It was a breakthrough that Northamptonshire captain Andrew Hall, who saw Newman dropped at second slip on 61, badly needed and he was a much happier man when Vaas followed it up with a telling spell.
The Sri Lankan, who once played for Middlesex, claimed Dawid Malan leg before wicket pushing forward and then had Neil Dexter and Jamie Dalrymple caught behind by wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien off successive balls.
The game had been turned on its head and Hall's decision to field first was vindicated when Rogers chopped the ball into his stumps trying to cut.