Toby Roland-Jones does England chances no harm in Middlesex’s win over Yorkshire

Middlesex's Toby Roland-Jones (right) celebrates a wicket (pic John Walton/PA)

Middlesex's Toby Roland-Jones (right) celebrates a wicket (pic John Walton/PA) - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Ollie Rayner takes 4-35 to help Division One champions claim impressive victory at Lord’s

Middlesex's Ollie Rayner (right) celebrates a wicket with team-mate John Simpson

Middlesex's Ollie Rayner (right) celebrates a wicket with team-mate John Simpson - Credit: Archant

Toby Roland-Jones again pressed his England Test claims as he spearheaded an innings and 64-run Middlesex victory inside three days against Yorkshire at a sweltering Lord’s.

England start their four-match series against South Africa at Lord’s on July 6, and Roland-Jones has a strong case to be included.

The seamer took his season’s first-class wicket tally to 22 at 31 runs apiece as Yorkshire were bowled out for 208 and 174 after being asked to follow on in reply to Middlesex’s first innings’ 446. Middlesex take 23 points, and Yorkshire just three.

On a pitch producing more variable bounce, the accuracy and pace of Roland-Jones and Tim Murtagh made them a testing proposition and, with Ollie Rayner, Steven Finn and James Franklin also chipping in, Middlesex made sure of their first Specsavers County Championship victory of the summer – at the sixth attempt.

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It has been a frustrating start to their title defence for the champions, who lost one and drew four of their first five matches, but they will now go to Chelmsford next week to take on early Division One pace-setters Essex with renewed belief that this result will kick-start their four-day campaign.

This was also a fourth successive championship win for Middlesex against Yorkshire at Lord’s, following last September’s epic in which they clinched the title with Roland-Jones finishing the match with a hat-trick.

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Here the strapping 29-year-old grabbed the key wicket of Yorkshire captain Gary Ballance with the second ball after lunch, a beauty which moved up the Lord’s slope to take a thin edge through to keeper John Simpson, after earlier removing opener Alex Lees with another fine ball delivered from the Pavilion End in his opening spell.

Lees fell for 14 as Yorkshire lost their first three wickets in just seven balls, with Murtagh striking twice in four balls in his fourth over to send back Adam Lyth for 2 and Harry Brook for a third-ball duck.

It was in his fourth over that Roland-Jones then had Lees smartly held by Rayner at second slip from a ball angled across the left-hander.

Lyth edged a good one low to Simpson, who took a neat tumbling catch behind the stumps, while 18-year-old debutant Brook – struck on the gloves by the first ball he faced – wafted weakly at a rising ball to give Simpson another catch.

Murtagh’s final figures were 11-7-13-2, and Roland-Jones’ 2 for 46. Off spinner Rayner, who enjoyed himself as Yorkshire’s tail was polished off, earned himself a return of 4 for 35 but it was the new ball pair who did the terminal damage.

Yorkshire were reeling at 16 for 3 after Murtagh and Roland-Jones’ early successes, but Ballance and Peter Handscomb briefly rallied them with a stand of 36 until Roland-Jones returned to cut that short.

Handscomb made 21 before spearing a short ball from Finn straight to cover and Andrew Hodd was the next to go, for 15, when he played inside a ball from Rayner that held its line down the Lord’s slope and was bowled.

Adil Rashid’s 35 ended with a poor stroke and an edge through to Simpson, when left-arm seamer Franklin angled one across him.

And after tea, Ben Coad pulled Rayner straight to mid wicket to depart for 8 and Ryan Sidebottom offered a few defiant blows in a final wicket stand with Steven Patterson before inside-edging a reverse slap at Rayner on to his pad and into the hands of silly point.

Earlier, resuming their first innings on 186 for 9, Yorkshire’s last wicket pair resisted for 20 minutes before No 11 Sidebottom, having just whipped Finn off his pads for four, edged the fast bowler to keeper Simpson to go for 9.

At least, by then, Ballance had hit Finn for three successive fours to earn his side a single batting bonus point. On 53 overnight, Ballance finished with 69 not out from 123 balls, with twelve fours.

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