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RESULT
35th Match, Leicester, June 30 - July 02, 2024, County Championship Division Two
179 & 372
(T:466) 86 & 342

Leics won by 123 runs

Report

Injury-hit Leicestershire land statement win over Middlesex

Ben Mike claims key wickets as du Plooy, Roland-Jones resistance is unpicked

Ben Green dug in under cloudy skies, Somerset vs Essex, Bob Willis Trophy final, Day 1, Lord's, September 23, 2020

Ben Green added vital runs to lengthen Leicestershire's lead  •  Getty Images

Leicestershire 179 (Higgins 4-35, Roland-Jones 4-63) and 372 (Green 77, Goldsworthy 75, Roland-Jones 5-76) beat Middlesex 86 (Mike 5-22, Green 4-28) and 342 (du Plooy 60, Roland-Jones 59, Mike 3-88) by 123 runs
Despite missing eight senior players through injury or unavailability, Leicestershire recorded their first victory of the Division Two season and inflicted a first defeat on Middlesex as their Vitality County Championship match ended in a 123-run win for Lewis Hill's team inside three days.
After being skittled for 86 in their first innings on day one, Middlesex were left to chase an unlikely 466 - a fourth-innings total they have bettered only twice in their history - if they were to leave Grace Road with a fourth success of their campaign after Leicestershire made 372 in their second innings.
In the event, they were bowled out for 342, the decisive phase coming in the half-hour after tea, when Leus Du Plooy (60) and Ryan Higgins (41), their leading runscorers this season, were out in quick succession.
On a pitch carrying much less menace than it had earlier in the match, Middlesex skipper Toby Roland-Jones at least offered some late defiance, throwing caution to the wind with a 33-ball 59 that included eight sixes before he was last man out.
Du Plooy had been caught by Ben Green off the bowling of Ben Mike, who were the two players who did most to influence the outcome of the match.
On loan Somerset all-rounder Green hit 77 second-innings runs to go with his career-best four for 28 in Middlesex's first innings, adding two more wickets today and taking the catch on the mid-wicket boundary that clinched the win for his temporary team-mates.
Mike added 41 second-innings runs to his career-best five for 22 in the first innings, finishing with eight wickets in the match after his second-innings three for 88.
Already 404 runs to the good when rain forced an early finish on day two, Leicestershire added another 61 in the dozen overs it took Middlesex to dismiss Mike and Green at the start of the day.
Mike, who had clubbed leg spinner Luke Hollman for six and four in the same over, holed out to long-on after the ninth-wicket pair had put on 89.
Yet Green was able to pick up another six boundaries while keeping last man Matt Salisbury away from the strike before he was caught at short third man.
With a potential minimum of 186 overs remaining in the match, the required run rate for Middlesex was therefore a modest 2.5 per over.
In the event, clearly keen to put pressure on the Leicestershire bowlers, openers Mark Stoneman and Sam Robson launched the pursuit at double that rate. Both, though, were out inside the first 11 overs. Robson edged behind off Mike for two. Stoneman, who got away with a difficult chance to third slip on five, numbered six boundaries in his 34-ball 30 but was caught at second slip when Green found some bounce and away movement.
Du Plooy and Max Holden were relieved to reach lunch unscathed at 74 for two and were notably circumspect thereafter. On a surface that was still prone to variable bounce, it became a game of patience for both sides - one in which, by tea, Middlesex will have felt they were doing pretty well.
At 167 for three, they still needed another 299 but Holden, leg before getting only half forward to an inswinging delivery from Salisbury, was their only casualty of the afternoon session, although there was concern for Du Plooy, who took a bang on the helmet when he ducked into a bouncer from Mike just before completing a 111-ball half century.
Yet the pendulum swung Leicestershire's way at the start of the final session, with the key wickets of Du Plooy and Ryan Higgins falling to Mike and Salisbury.
Du Plooy, forced to take evasive action by another Mike bouncer, slapped the next delivery straight to backward point, ending what seemed like the key partnership after 78 runs. Then Higgins, dropped by Ben Cox standing up to Salisbury on 39, departed in the tall seamer's next over as the Leicestershire wicketkeeper rapidly made amends.
Josh De Caires led a somewhat charmed life against Scott Currie, who made the next breakthrough by having Jack Davies strangled down the leg side, but ultimately fell to the off spin of Louis Kimber for 36, caught at slip, a bonus wicket before the new ball, with which Green struck with the first delivery as Hollman was bowled offering no shot for 25.
Mike picked up his eighth wicket of the match as Henry Brookes was leg before before Roland-Jones, as captain smarting most from the defeat, took his frustration out on the ball.

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County Championship Division Two

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