Middlesex left with work to do at Leicester
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Leicestershire’s bowlers drove home the advantage after their batsmen, led by a first-class career best 196 not out by Colin Ackermann, posted an imposing first innings score in their Specsavers County Championship match against Middlesex at the Fischer County Ground, Grace Road.
Young seamers Zak Chappell and Gavin Griffiths picked up six wickets between them as the visitors subsided from 200-4 to 233 all out.
South African Ackermann’s only disappointment was not getting the chance to reach the double century he deserved, after the Foxes had resumed on their overnight score of 353-8.
Leicestershire number 10 Gavin Griffiths, who had himself already passed his previous first-class best, continued to offer Ackermann solid support and the partnership had reached 90, matching Leicestershire’s ninth wicket record against Middlesex, before James Harris, bowling from the Bennett End, found extra bounce to hit Griffiths’ glove, and the ball looped high into the hands of point.
Last man Mohammad Abbas saw Ackermann past his previous career best of 187 not out, but the Pakistan Test bowler then edged a Hilton Cartwright delivery to Dawid Malan at second slip.
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Middlesex openers Max Holden and Sam Robson were given a severe examination by Mohammad Abbas and Ben Raine, both of whom made the ball swing and sometimes seam off the pitch. The occasional delivery was also keeping low, and Holden was on the back foot when a delivery from Abbas swung back in and hit him in front of off stump.
Robson faced more than 50 balls for his 15 before edging Raine to Neil Dexter at third slip, and Chappell produced a quick delivery that came back and hit (and broke) the top of Stevie Eskinazi’s middle stump.
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Had Dexter held a Stirling edge off Gavin Griffiths with the batsman on just one, and Harry Dearden not put down Dawid Malan at gully off Dexter, on 15, Middlesex would have been in even more trouble.
But with Stirling in particular going for his shots, the pair added a quick 80 for the fourth wicket before the Irishman, having gone to his 50 in the over after tea, pulled a Raine delivery straight to mid-wicket.
Malan continued to bat responsibly, but Cartwright again flattered to deceive, looking good in going to 33 with several crisply impressive off-drives before skying an attempted hook at a Chappell bouncer.
John Simpson was leg before to a full in-swinger from Griffiths, and Chappell picked up leg before decisions with consecutive deliveries to Harris and Steve Finn.
With the Middlesex tail having signally failed to wag, Tim Murtagh’s dismissal of Leicestershire skipper Paul Horton in the final over of the day was minimal consolation for the visitors.