Shah and Dexter hundreds rescue Middlesex
Middlesex 356 for 5 v Leicestershire 464 for 3 dec
Owais Shah and Neil Dexter both made centuries as Middlesex battled back on the third day of their County championship game against Leicestershire at Grace Road. Middlesex recovered from losing three wickets for 12 runs in the first eight overs of the day to post a close of play total of 356 for 5, leaving them 108 runs adrift of Leicestershire.
Shah, in need of a big score after a sketchy start to the season, played himself back into form during a 266-run partnership with Dexter, who scored his second century of the season.
Both batsmen had their share of good fortune, with Shah dropped on 39 and Dexter forced to fight his way through a difficult patch during the early part of his innings when he played and missed on several occasions. But the fourth-wicket pair did their job, rescuing Middlesex from the perilous position they found themselves in at 35 for 3 after 15 overs.
Resuming on their overnight score of 19 without loss, Middlesex lost a wicket to the last ball of the first over, with left-arm seamer Harry Gurney finding the edge of Sam Robson's bat to provide Matt Boyce with a low catch at slip.
Gurney struck again when more late swing accounted for Scott Newman, with wicketkeeper Tom New taking the catch. Dawid Malan was dropped at slip off Matthew Hoggard, but was out next ball trapped lbw, leaving Middlesex deep in trouble.
At that point they looked as though they could struggle to reach the follow-on target of 315 until Shah and Dexter turned things around. The batting was not always fluent against some accurate bowling from Leicestershire's seamers, who beat the bat on numerous occasions without finding the edge.
Shah should have been out when he edged to second slip off Gurney, but Will Jefferson was unable to cling on to the catch as he dived to his right. The former England batsman celebrated by reaching his 50 with an on drive off Hoggard and Dexter's half-century arrived soon afterwards off 105 balls.
The next landmark was Shah's first century of the season, which arrived via a top-edged four off Jacques Du Toit. It was the 38th first-class century of Shah's career and came off 190 balls with 15 fours. At tea Dexter was nine runs short of his 100, but reached it off 165 balls with 13 boundaries. He followed that up by hoisting Claude Henderson for six over long off.
But the second new ball ended the fourth-wicket stand with Dexter skying a catch to mid-off to provide Gurney with his third wicket. A six off Gurney took Shah to 150 before he popped up a return catch to Andrew McDonald, having made 156 off 289 balls with 23 fours. Gurney was Leicestershire's most successful bowler, taking 3 for 82 off 24 impressive overs.