Frank Insight: Middlesex cricket column with James Franklin
Neil Dexter’s been in and out of the team throughout the summer and that hasn’t been easy for him – but his century up at Durham was outstanding.
Dexy looked like he was batting on a different pitch to everyone else. It was a top-drawer hundred and he and Dawid Malan really stood out in our second innings, just as Nick Compton did with a great 70-odd first time around.
After getting put in on a damp wicket, it was always a case of trying to keep ourselves in the game on day one – and, while a total of 196 might look pretty light, in the scheme of things we didn’t feel it was the end of the world.
The nature of the wicket at Durham is it that it’s always conducive to seam bowling and that was how it proved.
As well as those big scores, we also had vital contributions from the lower order. The likes of Toby Roland-Jones, James Harris and Ollie Rayner have made a big difference when we’ve been in a spot of bother this season.
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It also means you can take a bit of momentum into your bowling – when the tail get a few runs it lifts the rest of the team. And it can also work the other way, if you’ve been unable to shift the last couple of batsmen.
I always thought a lead of over 300 would be too many for Durham if we bowled well – and we did, with James Harris picking up a five-for to add to his nine against them earlier in the season.
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Now we’ve got a few days to relax before we start preparing for our next game at Warwickshire. They’ll be smarting after losing two championship games in a row, which isn’t something they’ll be used to.
If we can win again and get a little closer to Yorkshire, it could make that game against them at Lord’s next month quite interesting. Knowing the way Yorkshire go about their business they won’t feel the title’s done and dusted yet – and we’d like to keep them on their toes for a while yet.