Middlesex 196 & 280: Dexter 112, Malan 63; Rushworth 5-49
Durham 169 & 236: Borthwick 95; Harris 5-71, Roland-Jones 2-58
Middlesex (19 pts) beat Durham (3 pts) by 71 runs
James Harris tormented Durham for the second time this season as he cleaned up the tail to seal a vital victory for Middlesex.
Harris, who took 9-34 in the win at Lord’s in May, claimed four of the five wickets the visitors required in a six-over burst before lunch on Monday.
Yorkshire’s draw with Sussex allowed Middlesex to claw back eight points on the leaders, but they are still 30 adrift in second place.
However, with the two sides due to meet at Lord’s next month, this victory at Chester-le-Street does still keep Middlesex’s slim title hopes alive.
After a wicketless first hour, Harris made the breakthrough by bowling Ryan Pringle for 36.
Shortly afterwards, Neil Dexter picked up the big wicket of Scott Borthwick, who had batted for more than three-and-a-half hours and was five runs short of a century when he was caught behind.
Harris then took three wickets in eight balls, spread out over three overs, as he removed tailenders John Hastings, Chris Rushworth and James Weighell to wrap up the win.
Middlesex’s next Championship match starts on 1 September when they visit third-placed Warwickshire, while Yorkshire host relegation-threatened Somerset.