Dexter and Finn guide Middlesex to win

Sussex 192 & 207 lost to Middlesex 269 & 209 by 79 runs

Neil Dexter and Steven Finn took four wickets each as Middlesex surged to their third straight victory and moved top of the County Championship.

Strong lower-order contributions, anchored by John Simpson’s 34, helped the visitors from 126-6 overnight to 209 all out.

Set 287 to win, Sussex made a promising start at 92-1 but Dexter claimed the major scalps of Matt Machan, Ed Joyce, Luke Wright and Michael Yardy as the hosts slipped to 147-6.

After tea, Finn took care of three of the final four batsmen as Middlesex, still unbeaten, leapfrogged Durham at the summit of Division One.

The match was still in the balance going into Tuesday’s third day at Hove, with Middlesex six down and 203 ahead, but with 26 wickets falling in the first two days, batting was never likely to be easy.

That meant every run squeezed out by the Middlesex tail was likely to be crucial, and after Ollie Rayner fell early on, the 45 put on by Simpson and James Harris (28) looked to take the game away from Sussex.

Given that no single batsman had reached 50 in the match, it looked a tough target for the home side but opener Yardy stoop up to the challenge, sharing in stands of 46 with both Chris Nash and Machan.

But before Yardy could make a half-century, Dexter took two wickets in consecutive overs while Finn bowled Craig Cachopa to leave Sussex 123-4.

Dexter removed the dangerous Wright and although Yardy did make it to 52, he became the Middlesex seamer’s fourth victim on the stroke of tea.

When play resumed, Finn chipped away at the Sussex lower order and wrapped up victory when he had Ajmal Shahzad caught behind.

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