Middlesex slump to defeat at Sussex

Close, day three: Middlesex (170 & 211) lost to Sussex (287 & 98-2) by eight wickets.

Sussex 22pts, Middlesex 3pts

Middlesex suffered a setback in their advance up the County Championship after losing to Sussex with a whole day to spare.

The game was finely poised after Toby Roland-Jones (pictured above) inspired a Middlesex resurgence on day two, taking 6-66.

But after Sam Robson and nightwatchman Roland-Jones were lost early in the morning, their team struggled to cope with the Sussex attack and were finished off with just a 96-run lead.

New Sussex captain Ed Joyce made 35 at the top of the reply before Luke Wells and Murray Goodwin cantered to victory in just over 25 overs.

The defeat leaves Middlesex 47 points behind top side Warwickshire with four games left and all but ends any hope of even a top-two finish with Sussex now moving 38 points ahead.

Roland-Jones was dismissed just six overs into the day after reaching 20, and when Robson failed to make his partnership with Dawid Malan stick, only Neil Dexter’s 40 threatened to keep the order from complete collapse.

Malan made 18 before his wicket left Middlesex 148-5 but Dexter extended the score over 200 before he was dismissed by James Anyon to make the score 208-9.

Tim Murtagh and Ollie Rayner tried hard to get early wickets and Murtagh had Chris Nash for five runs in only the fifth over.

But in good batting conditions at Hove, Joyce moved quickly to his score before he was caught and bowled by Rayner and at 67-2 it was easy for Wells and his new partner Goodwin.

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