Lords Day 2: Rayner nabs four and catches two on season debut


Middlesex 349 all out

Leicestershire 257-9

Attendance: 2322

Prost International Player of the Day: Ollie Rayner

Ollie Rayner will not forget his 2019 Middlesex debut. The 33 year old German spinner was out for a duck late yesterday but took four wickets today, including a superb caught & bowled and another fantastic catch to have a part in dismissing half the Leicestershire side in one day.

His victims included the top four scorers in the Leicester innings and he sent both Colin Ackermann and Harry Dearden back to the pavilion just as they were about to swing a pendulous game back into the visitors’ favour and picked up three quick wickets for 13, to go from 1-41 to 4-54.

The home side lead by 92 with one wicket to take before they bat again.

South African Ackermann showed hitherto just what a useful cricketer he can be. He had a hand in the dismissals of three of Middlesex’s top four scorers and entered the Leicester innings with his side on a perilous 80-3. It was 205-4 by the time he reached his 50 off 92 balls.

He left at 242-5 but his 63 had been crucial in keeping the game close. His dismissal came caught behind by Simpson off Rayner who was the best of the home attack finishing with 22-5-58-4. He also took a fantastic catch at second slip to dismiss Leicestershire skipper Paul Horton.

In the end, it was just Rayner’s day, notwithstanding his duck yesterday, with his figures being especially noteworthy for a man defending a short boundary.

Ackermann and Dearden excelled for Leicester but both left in their 60s when a century was within their ability and the mastery they had of the attack at the time of their departures.

Ackermann was assisted by the more adventurous Dearden who overtook him with a beautifully cut four to deep point off Tom Helm. It took a fantastic diving catch at cover to end the 110 partnership, with Steve Eskinazi taking a captain’s catch  – if there is such a thing- to dismiss Dearden. Lewis Hill hit the next ball for four but the match was about to swing Middlesex’s way.

With no spearhead like Mohammad Abbas to call on, Middlesex lacked the penetration with the ball but every bowler bowled straight and to his field, protecting the short Tavern boundary well. Ackermann and Dearden made run accumulation look initially fairly difficult but they made getting out look if anything even harder.

Then, in the final session, they began to cut a little loose. The 100 partnership came off 17 balls and with Middlesex still to bowl a worrying 27 overs left in the day before Rayner reined them in and gave his side the edge before stumps.


Earlier, the home side added just 24 to their overnight score of 325-8 and missed a batting point by one run due to a run out at the non striker’s end.

When the Foxes opened, Ateeq Javid survived but no more and eventually fell at 21-1 to one of a few early LBW appeals. Tim Helm who had batted his way to 37, continuing a good morning.

However, 50 more were added before a late wicket just before lunch, Hasan Azad being surprisingly bowled by James Harris to put a very different slant on the game as the players went to eat.

Captain Paul Horton was on 32 and a great deal seemed to rest on him carrying his bat a long way. Not surprisingly, Leicester came out from lunch looking initially to consolidate. It took a brilliant piece of cricket to dismiss him and it came courtesy of a marvelous Ollie Rayner catch at second slip, behind and almost over his left shoulder.

When Rayner trapped Cosgrove LBW for 28, four different bowlers had taken the four Leicester wickets. Colin Ackermann and Harry Dearden came together at 113-4 and dominated the middle session producing chanceless cricket to not only see off any lingering threat of the follow-on but guide their side to parity.

Both however fell in the 60s and Middlesex snapped up wickets to swing the game back just into their control as the shadows lengthened.



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