Day 3: Middlesex and Leicester go into Day 4 with the match perfectly poised after Helm and Simpson save batsmen’s blushes


Middlesex 349 and 223

Leicestershire 268 and 38-0

Attendance: 1387

Prost Player of the Day: Tom Helm

Day 4 of a county game usually promises little. That’s why they let you in cheap. Either one side is so far ahead, or there is little prospect for a full day’s play because the match will end early.

Nothing could be further from the truth however at Lords where Middlesex and visitors Leicester are locked in an absorbing struggle which has swung to and fro for three days.

The home side thought they had a significant advantage when they dismissed Leicester for 268 this morning securing an 81 run lead. They then collapsed to 114-8 with Tom Taylor and Chris Wright producing some of the most outstanding pace bowling of the game.

George Scott was yorked by Wright with the outstanding delivery of the day. The guests produced miracles in the field too. Colin Ackermann’s catch at second slip to dismiss Steve Eskinazi was the cricketing moment of the day.

But once the valiant Foxes finally seemed to have climbed their way into the driving seat, an unlikely partnership between wicket-keeper John Simpson and seam bowler Tom Helm dug the North London side out. They put on 85 for the ninth wicket, with Helm adding 46 to his 37 not out in the first innings to give him a match average of 83.

Finally setting a challenging 305 to win, Leicester openers Paul Horton and Ateeq Javid did more than survive but gleefully knocked off the first 38 to leave 267 more to get, one less than they scored in their first innings.


Leicestershire added 11 more to their total before Helm bowled Chris Wright for 17.

Middlesex then had a torrid morning session losing the early wickets of Max Holden and Sam Robson to the excellent pace of Taylor who threatened with almost every delivery. Wright sent Tom Lace packing too to reduce the hosts to 73-3 at lunch.

Although they still went to lunch with a lead of 154, the game was very much in the balance as they came out. It was soon too draw away from Middlesex as the wickets tumbled.

Wright struck again after lunch dismissing the dangerous Nick Gubbins for 36. If Middlesex had been the victim of good bowling hitherto it was outstanding fielding that reduce them to 91 for five when Eskenazi was caught at second slip by a diving Ackermann.

Taylor came back to give Lewis Hill his third catch, and Middlesex led by less than 200 with seven men out.

With the match slipping away, Middlesex needed resistance and it came in the unlikely form of Helm and Simpson. Helm had made 37 not out in the first innings coming in at 10 and had added 52 for the tenth with Simpson by teatime leaving Middlesex 247 runs ahead.

When Helm’s wicket eventually fell, his side were one short of 200. However, his contribution over the innings (46) and to the game (83) made him Middlesex’s most valuable player.

Simpson went on to complete his 50 and go beyond with two outstanding cover drives before the tail fizzled leaving the keeper 59 not out.



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