Northamptonshire v Middlesex, Northampton, 3rd day

Scott Newman sets up Middlesex victory push

April 23, 2010

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Northamptonshire 307 and 29 for 0 v Middlesex 442 for 8 dec and 258 for 3 dec

Scorecard

Scott Newman upstaged England captain Andrew Strauss and smashed his first century for Middlesex as the visitors put themselves into a potential winning position in their County Championship Division Two match at Wantage Road. The 30-year-old opener hit 112 from 139 balls against Strauss' 32 to inspire the hosts to a second-innings total of 258 for 3 declared and lead of 393 at the end of day three.

Middlesex dominated from start to finish with Danny Evans helping skittle Northamptonshire out for 307 with figures of 5 for 87 before Newman and Dawid Malan (56) pressed home their advantage. Nicky Boje battled valiantly for the hosyts, finishing 61 not out and claiming second-innings figures of two for 87, while Stephen Peters and Mal Loye offered hope for tomorrow, closing at 29 without loss.

Northants started the day 264 runs behind their opponents on 178 for 4 with David Sales and Andrew Hall resuming on 35 and 31 respectively. Hall added just eight to his overnight score before edging Gareth Berg to Malan, who took a brilliant one-handed catch low to his right in the fourth over.

Sales battled but could not help becoming Steven Finn's second victim on 55, with wicketkeeper Paul Harrison next to go for eight, trapped leg before by Evans. Former England spinner Shuan Udal picked up his first wicket of the innings when he forced David Lucas to nudge to Sam Robson for 16, while Jack Brooks hit only a single before falling to Evans. He completed his five-wicket haul after Robson took another sharp catch at short leg to dismiss Luke Evans for eight, leaving Boje stranded on 61 from 103 balls.

Middlesex started their second innings 135 runs ahead and quickly built on their advantage with Newman passing 50 off 93 balls, ably supported by Strauss. However it was not long before the England captain was back in the pavilion as he looped Boje straight to Luke Evans at mid-on to break an opening stand on 94.

Robson was next in but made just 10 before being caught low down by South African Hall at slip off the bowling of Lucas. But there was no stopping Newman as he cut loose with the day drawing to close to reach three figures off 130 balls. His superb innings came to an end when he missed an attempted drive off Boje and was stumped by Harrison.

Middlesex declared on 258 with Malan unbeaten on 56 off 44 balls and Berg on 37 off 29 to leave Northants to bat out the remaining four overs. Peters and Loye did that with ease ending on 29 for no wicket with quickfire knocks of 14 and 15 respectively.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by ShortMidwicketWill1 on (April 24, 2010, 17:08 GMT)

CricketingStargazer - that is probably the best piece of cricketing punditry (or prediction) I've ever seen. I'm so impressed I've even blogged about it. You can see your celebratory article here: http://theshortthirdman.blogspot.com/2010/04/it-was-written-in-stars.html. Bravo!

And as a Middlesex fan, this is a small crumb of comfort after a fairly embarrassing loss.

Posted by CricketingStargazer on (April 23, 2010, 21:34 GMT)

This match is more finely balanced than it looks. Despite what the reports says, Middlesex showed little initial urgency. As a result, they have probably set 20-30 less than they might have liked. Batting looked increasingly easy through the day and, with the quick start, a final day chase is not impossible.

The trick is going to be to keep Northants interested because determined batsmen are not going to be easy to dismiss tomorrow if Northants put up the shutters. The danger though is that Northants need under 4 an over and have the batting to get it if someone gets in.

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