County Championship: Middlesex stay top by beating Sussex
|LV= County Championship Division One, BrightonandHoveJobs.com County Ground (day three)|
|Middlesex 269 & 209: Simpson 34, Magoffin 4-49, Robinson 4-62|
|Sussex 192 & 207: Yardy 52; Dexter 4-41, Finn 4-51|
|Middlesex win by 79 runs|
|Sussex 3 pts, Middlesex 21 pts|
Four wickets each for Neil Dexter and Steven Finn helped Middlesex beat Sussex and remain top of Division One.
Having resumed on 126-6, John Simpson made 34 to take Middlesex to 209 all out and set the hosts 287 to win.
Michael Yardy's measured innings of 52 got Sussex off to a good start, but Dexter picked up four wickets as they slumped from 91-1 to 147-6.
Finn removed Ben Brown and Oliver Robinson, and then had Ajmal Shahzad caught behind to seal the victory.
After a second day in which 13 wickets had fallen, the bowlers were once again on top early on as Ollie Rayner was caught off the bowling of Robinson with just 17 runs added to the overnight score.
But Simpson and James Harris (28) put on 45 for the eighth wicket, as the leaders set third-placed Sussex a challenging target for victory.
Openers Yardy and Chris Nash saw off the new ball, but Toby Roland-Jones struck shortly after lunch, Nash edging to first slip.
Dexter picked up his first wicket as Matt Machan was caught driving to mid-on, and then had Ed Joyce caught behind for a duck.
Craig Cachopa and Luke Wright were bowled by Finn and Dexter respectively, before Johannesburg-born Dexter had Yardy caught by wicketkeeper Simpson.
Brown and Robinson made 38 for the seventh wicket, but both fell in quick succession to England hopeful Finn.
Off-spinner Rayner found Steve Magoffin's outside edge, and Simpson took his third catch of the innings to remove Shahzad and seal Middlesex's third win in four games,
Sussex captain Ed Joyce:
"It was a poor wicket. We are trying to get more pace and bounce into our pitches but that probably did too much, there were too many naughty balls.
"We were outplayed and can't have any complaints but we did give ourselves a chance to win and that's a positive for us."
Middlesex captain Adam Voges:
"My honest assessment is that it wasn't a great wicket. I just felt the variable bounce, combined with the sideways movement from the first day made it difficult and the fact that only one batsman got to 50 proved that.
"I had a bit of a hunch with Neil Dexter and he did a terrific job. He found enough sideways movement and getting Michael Yardy just before tea was crucial. He gets wickets in clusters.
"We have started tremendously well. It's a close-knit group and they are very talented so there's no reason why we can't continue our good start."