County Championship: Resolute batting earns Middlesex draw

James Franklin
James Franklin has played 31 Tests for New Zealand
LV= County Championship Division One, Uxbridge
Middlesex 309 & 362-7 (dec): Franklin 91 not out, Burns 87; Shantry 2-37
Worcestershire 385 & 39-1: Ali 21 not out; Rayner 1-7
Match Drawn
Middlesex 9 pts, Worcestershire 12 pts
Match scorecard

A resolute Middlesex batting display saw their County Championship game against Worcestershire end in a draw.

After Moeen Ali bowled Paul Stirling early on, Joe Burns and James Franklin shared a fifth-wicket stand of 103.

Jack Shantry removed Burns for 87 and despite two wickets after lunch, Franklin's 91 not out and James Harris (59no) saw Middlesex declare on 362-7.

Middlesex bowled spin to boost their over rate before the game ended at 17:00 BST with Worcestershire on 39-1.

Worcestershire knew they would need quick wickets on a slow pitch at Uxbridge to force a victory as Middlesex began the final day on 140-3 - a lead of 64.

Bradders silenced by a stray cricket ball
BBC Hereford & Worcester's Dave Bradley found it hard work dealing with his usual plethora of e-mails on the final day at Uxbridge - after his laptop was demolished by an errant cricket ball.
The veteran commentator, broadcasting from inside a small marquee at the Middlesex 'out ground', was doing his preparations prior to start of play while the teams warmed up on the outfield when a loose throw did the damage.

They got some early encouragement in just the third over as England all-rounder Moeen managed to turn one sharply through the defences of Stirling, who did not add to his overnight 39.

However, hope for the visitors soon faded as skipper Franklin and Burns batted until the stroke of lunch to take the advantage towards 200, before Burns picked out Joe Leach at deep mid-wicket.

Leach gave Worcestershire another chance by dismissing John Simpson and Ollie Rayner cheaply to leave Middlesex seven down with a lead of 183 with almost two full sessions to go.

Leading by example
James Franklin has scored 481 runs in the County Championship this summer with two hundreds and two half-centuries at an average of 48.10

But New Zealander Franklin, on the back of his 135 in the first innings, and Welshman Harris made sure there was to be no chase as they put on 103 and remained at the crease until after tea.

Franklin decided to declare nine runs short of his century to try and ensure they would not be docked any points for a slow over rate - and despite Rayner removing Richard Oliver with the ninth ball of the innings the game ended tamely with Sam Robson and Nick Compton bowling.

Middlesex captain James Franklin:

"There were two tricky periods for us today - the first hour and then immediately after lunch when we had to face the second new ball.

"There was some pressure on us when Joe Burns got out and then when we lost two wickets to the second new ball but James Harris came in to play a great knock and I was really happy to see him play so well.

"We got through that second tricky period and secured the draw. Joe (Burns) also played well in this match, with two fifties."

Worcestershire director of cricket Steve Rhodes:

"It was a hard-fought contest over the four days and we might have got more out of it. Middlesex fought back well in each innings and James Franklin was a rock for them.

"But Middlesex are a useful outfit, and are in the top four, so this was a good match for us and I thought we acquitted ourselves well.

"There was plenty of grass on the pitch and so there was never very much in it for our two spinners. We thought they might get more from it on days three and four, but it didn't do much at all."

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