Cricket: Middlesex raise hopes with late burst at Lancashire

Middlesex's Ethan Bamber (pic John Walton/PA)

Middlesex's Ethan Bamber (pic John Walton/PA) - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Middlesex claimed five wickets in a dramatic evening session at Emirates Old Trafford as they sought to inflict a first championship defeat on the soon-to-be crowned Division Two champions Lancashire.

Having spent the first two days of this match recovering from 34-6 to make 337 in reply to the home side's 259, Dawid Malan's bowlers had restricted the home side to 289-8 when bad light ended play 11 overs early.

That gives Lancashire a lead of only 211 and it all but completed a second fine fightback by Middlesex after a day the first two sessions of which had been dominated by the batsmen.

Miguel Cummins ended the day with figures of 4-50 but Ethan Bamber took two vital wickets with the new ball while Lancashire's best contribution was made by Keaton Jennings, who was dismissed for 97 for the second time this season when he chopped a ball from Nathan Sowter onto his leg stump.

Jennings' dismissal ended his 127-run stand with Livingstone and was the first of five Lancashire wickets to fall in 13 overs as the home side declined from 253-3 to 282-8.

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In the morning session a career-best 34 by Saqib Mahmood had enabled Lancashire's batsmen to wipe out their 78-run first-innings deficit during a relatively quiet two hours' cricket.

Mahmood hit five fours before he was caught behind when playing forward to Cummins but his was the only wicket lost on a pitch which seemed to be flattening out after a first day in which 16 wickets fell.

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Lancashire's domination continued during the second session when the only batsman dismissed was Josh Bohannon, who was lbw to Toby Roland-Jones for 28, having helped Jennings put on 51 for the third wicket.

Liam Livingstone joined Jennings and the pair put on 127 for the fourth wicket either side of the tea interval, Livingstone twice hitting Sowter for sixes during his 116-ball 68.

But when he was three short of what would have been his first championship century of the season, Jennings fell to Sowter, a dismissal which changed the course of what is proving to be the best game of championship cricket seen at Old Trafford this season.

Bamber had Livingstone caught behind by Simpson two overs after taking the new ball and then trapped Lancashire skipper Dane Vilas leg before for only two in his next over.

Rob Jones fell to Cummins for 16, caught in the gully by Sowter, and when Tom Bailey was pouched by Dawid Malan at second slip for only four Lancashire were faced with the prospect of defending a fairly modest target on the final day of the season at Emirates Old Trafford if they wished to defend their unbeaten record in championship cricket.

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