Cricket: Murtagh is main man for Middlesex
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Veteran paceman Tim Murtagh steered Middlesex to their first Specsavers County Championship victory of the campaign – a 127 run success – with a six-wicket haul against Worcestershire at Blackfinch New Road.
Murtagh, who is 38 in August, struck twice before lunch, produced another triple breakthrough after the resumption and he went onto finish with figures of 6-51 and a match analysis of 35-16-76-8.
Worcestershire, who had been set a 353 target after Middlesex declared overnight, were bowled out for 225 in 73.3 overs.
It was the perfect return to county action for Murtagh after his recent international commitments with Ireland and the 33rd five-wicket haul of his career.
Middlesex fully deserved their 20 point haul and fit again captain Dawid Malan produced the game's outstanding batting performance with scores of 45 and 124 on a wicket where the ball nipped around over all four days.
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For Worcestershire, opener Daryl Mitchell made a return to form for the home side with a defiant 129-ball half-century and Ross Whiteley also produced strong resistance with a late order fifty.
But for the home side it was a second successive setback following the defeat at Lancashire and they were second best with bat and ball for the majority of the game.
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Middlesex declared at their overnight total of 287-6 with John Simpson unbeaten on 30 and Toby Roland-Jones 11 not out.
Murtagh took the new ball and struck in successive overs as Tom Fell (4) was undone by a ball which bounced on him and nicked to Sam Robson at first slip with five on the board.
Then George Rhodes departed lbw for a duck to a Murtagh delivery which nipped back sharply.
Mitchell and Callum Ferguson tried to rebuild the innings and the latter needed 21 balls to get off the mark before reeling off a succession of boundaries.
They steered Worcestershire to 91-2 at lunch but Murtagh came back into the attack after the resumption to re-assert a position of authority for Middlesex.
Ferguson (43) went for a drive to his first delivery of the afternoon from Murtagh and was pouched by Steve Eskinazi who held onto a head high catch at second slip.
Two balls later Riki Wessels (0) pushed forward and only succeeded in finding Malan in the gulley region.
Mitchell went to his half century - containing nine fours - with a single off Murtagh but in his next over dragged a delivery onto his stumps.
Murtagh had Whiteley dropped on 11 at third slip and the left hander profited from his let-off, mixing defence with some trademark attacking strokes.
The wickets continued to tumble at the other end with Ben Cox (14) and Ed Barnard (11) both caught behind off Tom Helm and Toby Roland-Jones respectively.
Victim number six for Murtagh came when he defeated the defensive push of Worcestershire skipper Joe Leach (11) who was bowled.
Whiteley's half century came up from 90 deliveries with seven fours.
But the end came quickly as Josh Tongue (2) was taken at second slip off Helm and finally Whiteley, whose 112 ball knock contained nine fours, edged James Harris to first slip with 22.3 overs remaining.