Jayant Yadav bags five as Middlesex retain control of Division One status

1xC Team

Lancashire 413 (Vilas 124, Wells 97, Bell 91, Yadav 5-131) drew with Middlesex 194 (Robson 86, Baily 3-38) and 160 for 3 (Davies 65*, Eskinazi 26*)

After three days in which they had been outplayed by Lancashire, Middlesex’s batters comfortably secured the draw that sustains their hopes of avoiding relegation from Division One of the LV= Insurance County Championship.

When the players eventually shook hands at 4:50pm on the Emirates Old Trafford outfield, the visitors were 160 for 3, with the highly-rated Jack Davies unbeaten on 65, his maiden first-class fifty and Stevie Eskinazi on 26 not out.
In the first hour of play, Lancashire scored 71 runs for the loss of their last five wickets before being dismissed for 413. The first batter to go was George Balderson, who was caught behind by John Simpson off Ryan Higgins for 12, but three of the remaining four wickets were taken by the off-spinner Jayant Yadav, who marked his Middlesex debut by taking 5 for 131 in Lancashire’s second innings.

The only disappointing dismissal from the home perspective was that of George Bell, who was stumped by Simpson off Jayant for a career-best 91, nine short of what would have been his maiden first-class century. Otherwise, the accent was on Lancashire scoring quick runs prior to a declaration and Middlesex picking up two more bowling bonus points to help their battle against relegation.

Left with a first-innings deficit of 219 and 50 minutes to bat before lunch, Middlesex lost Sam Robson in the fifth over of their second innings when the opener failed to cope with Tom Bailey’s bounce and edged a waist-high catch to Will Williams at third slip. Undaunted, Mark Stoneman and Joe Cracknell took their side safely to the first interval.

Within an hour of the resumption, however, both batters were dismissed in almost identical fashion – lbw on the front foot to the left-arm spin Tom Hartley – though the left-handed Stoneman may have had more of a case that the ball which dismissed him for 17 struck his pad outside the line of the off stump, a defence that could not be offered for Cracknell, who made 33 in 93 minutes.

The response of Davies and Eskinazi to reverses that left their side on 71 for 3 was to calmly reset the innings and take Middlesex to 105 for 3 at tea. Lancashire made limited use of Luke Wells’ leg-spin and even gave Bailey an over of off-spin before the interval but to no avail.

The cricket after tea was the most desultory of the match. Davies and Eskinazi batted in completely untroubled fashion and it was no surprise when the players shook hands at the earliest opportunity.

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