<
>

Tim Murtagh swings Middlesex back into contention after Ed Barnard helps scuttle hosts

Tim Murtagh was straight back among the wickets Getty Images

Worcestershire 113 for 8 (Murtagh 4-37) trail Middlesex 144 (Holden 52, Barnard 4-43) by 31 runs

Bowlers feasted as 18 wickets fell on the first day of the LV= Insurance County Championship Division Three match between Middlesex and Worcestershire at Lord's.

Ed Barnard claimed 4 for 43 and skipper Joe Leach 3 for 30 as the hosts were hustled out for 144 after being put in, Max Holden providing the only resistance with 52, his first half-century of the season. But Middlesex hit back, Tim Murtagh taking 4 for 37 and Ethan Bamber 3 for 29 to leave Worcestershire 113 for 8 when bad light provided early sanctuary for beleaguered batsmen.

Middlesex fielded the same top seven which had amassed 676 for 5 at Hove last week, but this green top at Lord's in conditions where the ball swung prodigiously was a different beast and Worcestershire's attack exploited conditions superbly.

Mark Stoneman shouldered arms to one Leach brought back in and was trapped lbw before Steven Eskinazi and Robbie White departed in identical fashion to Charlie Morris and Barnard respectively. Sam Robson needed 27 runs to reach 1000 for the season, but after resisting for nearly two hours, Leach returned to castle him seven short as Middlesex went to lunch 81 for 5.

Only Holden stood firm as wickets tumbled around him, driving stylishly and pulling anything short to reach 50 in 83 balls with six fours. But once he departed, brilliantly caught by Daryl Mitchell at second slip the end came quickly.

Unsurprisingly, Worcestershire struggled in their turn, Mitchell nicking Murtagh through to Simpson with just 12 on the board. Jake Libby was another batsman in search of the 1000-run landmark, but he too fell short, pinned in front by Bamber, before Murtagh trapped Jack Haynes for a duck, his 50th first-class wicket of the season.

When Brett D' Oliveira drove Bamber into the hands of mid-on Worcestershire were 28 for 4 and it would have been 28 for 5 had Holden clung on to a cut from Barnard in the gully. It would be a brief reprieve as Murtagh soon found the edge and Eskinazi took a regulation catch at slip, practice for the more difficult chance he snaffled off the bowling of Bamber to send Ben Cox packing for a duck.

Gareth Roderick played well for 42, he and Leach adding 37 - the highest stand of the day - in a brief counterattack, but both fell before the close to leave honours even.

WORCS 4th innings Partnerships

WktRunsPlayers
1st12DKH MitchellJD Libby
2nd8DKH MitchellGH Roderick
3rd19GH RoderickJA Haynes
4th12GH RoderickBL D'Oliveira
5th43GH RoderickEG Barnard
6th4OB CoxGH Roderick
7th15J LeachGH Roderick
8th2GH RoderickJO Baker
9th3GH RoderickCAJ Morris
10th1GH RoderickDY Pennington

County Championship

Division 1
TeamMWLDPT
NOTTS431068
LANCS421157
WARKS421156
HANTS421153
YORKS412140
SOM404014
Division 2
TeamMWLDPT
ESSEX430177
GLOUC431064
DURH311140
NHNTS412138
SURR301227
GLAM403123
Division 3
TeamMWLDPT
KENT440083
MIDDX431067
WORCS422049
LEICS412143
DERBS412142
SUSS404018
Group 1
TeamMWLDPT
NOTTS10424151
WARKS10415145
DURH10325132
ESSEX10325129
WORCS10136109
DERBS1005572
Group 2
TeamMWLDPT
SOM10415148
HANTS10424145
GLOUC10532131
SURR10226123
LEICS10244111
MIDDX1027184
Group 3
TeamMWLDPT
LANCS10415150
YORKS10514149
GLAM10226127
NHNTS10334123
KENT1003797
SUSS1015494