Middlesex 196 & 118-4: Malan 56*, Dexter 46*; Rushworth 3-15
Close, day two: Middlesex lead Durham by 145 runs
Dawid Malan and Neil Dexter dug Middlesex out of a hole after an incredible 19 wickets fell on a topsy-turvy second day at Chester-le-Street.
Middlesex had resumed on 141-5 in their first innings after rain had wiped out half of the first day.
But the bowlers of both teams ensured the match moved on a pace, and then some, as the momentum swung back and forth.
The visitors lost their final five first-innings wickets for 55 runs, and even then they were indebted to three fours and a six from tailender Toby Roland-Jones (27).
Durham’s batsmen fared little better, however, as Middlesex quickly reduced them to 7-3, with Roland-Jones removing both openers and Tim Murtagh claiming the key scalp of veteran skipper Paul Collingwood.
Every time brief partnerships seemed to be forming, wickets kept coming. And when James Harris – who took 9-?? in the reverse fixture at Lord’s in May – took two in two balls, Durham were 51-6.
Gordon Muchall (64) dug in to frustrate the Middlesex attack and he shared in three useful stands of 30-plus to limit the damage.
Given they were bowled out cheaply, Middlesex would have been happy with a lead of 27 – but their own top order failed to build on that start.
Sam Robson fell to the second ball of the innings, while Paul Stirling (8), Nick Compton (5) and skipper James Franklin (3) also went cheaply to leave their side on 29-4, ahead by only 56.
But, not for the first time this season, Malan stood strong and he put on 89 with Dexter – easily the biggest partnership of the match – to give Middlesex a lead of 145 at stumps.