Dexter dents Worcs victory hopes
Worcestershire 323 and 44 for 3 (Roland-Jones 2-18) lead Middlesex 306 (Dexter 90, Robson 72, Richardson 4-62) by 61 runs
Half-centuries by Neil Dexter and Sam Robson helped lift Middlesex to 306 in reply to Worcestershire's 323 in the weather-hit Championship Division One match. Dexter led the way with 90 and figured in a century stand for the fourth wicket with Robson, who made 72.
Relegation-battling Worcestershire were again being well served by paceman Alan Richardson, who took 4 for 62, and by the close the hosts led by 61, having lost first-innings century-maker Daryl Mitchell, Phil Hughes and Moeen Ali.
Dexter, who scored 101 against Warwickshire at Edgbaston last week, and Robson produced key performances for Middlesex after Richardson had wasted little time in unsettling his former club when they resumed on 49 without loss off 13 overs.
He launched a burst of three wickets in successive overs, costing just four runs, by having left hander Chris Rogers caught by young wicketkeeper Ben Cox for 22, leaving him 15 short of completing 1,000 Championship runs for the season.
Joe Denly soon followed, bowled off stump, before Richardson picked up his 50th Championship scalp of the campaign by removing Dawid Malan. Richardson's impressive treble left Middlesex on 61 for 3 and in need of a steadying influence which Robson provided after resuming on 27 not out.
Accompanied by Dexter, he completed his half century off 108 balls with nine fours and by lunch they had steered Middlesex to 140 for 3 off 44 overs. Both batsmen continued to prosper after the break and completed a well earned century stand in 32 overs.
Robson, dropped the previous evening on 21, finally fell after hitting 11 fours off 157 balls in his highest Championship score so far this season. He put on 106 in 34 overs with Dexter, whose 50 came off 106 deliveries with eight fours. Robson, whose father Jim played for Worcestershire's second XI in 1979, perished when he dollied up a catch to Matt Pardoe at forward short leg off spinner Moeen.
Adam Rossington was trapped lbw by paceman Gareth Andrew before Dexter and Gareth Berg pushed Middlesex past the 200 mark in the 63rd over. By tea, taken one ball early because of a brief shower, they had completed a half-century stand with Middlesex on 241 for 5.
The first ball after the interval, however, ended the 60-run partnership when a loose drive outside the off stump by Berg led to him being caught at first slip by Moeen off Chris Russell. Dexter finally departed to an inside edge on to his middle stump against Joe Leach after hitting 12 fours off 190 balls.
Worcestershire continued to pep their fortunes when Richardson ousted Toby Roland-Jones before Russell saw off Steven Crook and Tim Murtagh after the last two Middlesex wickets had yielded 41.