UK county: Irishman puts Pakistan on alert

Ireland quick in fine form and Aussies make inroads as Championship action continues in England

Cricket Network

16 April 2018, 11:25 AM AEST

Ireland quick Tim Murtagh has put Pakistan's batsmen on notice with a devastating display at Lord's as Middlesex kick-started their bid for an immediate return to Division One of the County Championship with a resounding win over Northamptonshire.

Murtagh and fellow quick James Harris collected 17 wickets between them to rip through their opponents as the bowler-dominated opening round of the county season continued.

Murtagh is expected to make his debut for Ireland in their maiden Test appearance next month against Pakistan, who yesterday named their squad for the Ireland and England tour.

It was a memorable match for Harris, too, with the right-arm paceman taking match figures of 9-64 and also finishing with the top score across the three days – an unbeaten 46 in Middlesex's first innings.

Western Australia batsman Hilton Cartwright returned 30 and 0 with the bat, and claimed 1-4 with the ball.

There are five other matches currently ongoing across the two divisions, though Yorkshire v Essex at Headingley is yet to have a ball bowled after three days of inclement Leeds weather.

Perhaps the most eye-catching performance on Sunday came from injury-plagued Warwickshire quick Olly Stone, who bowled with impressive pace on an unhelpful pitch to claim 6-52 as the Jason Gillespie-coached Sussex reached 6-194 in reply to the hosts' 299.

Stone has only played 27 first-class matches since his debut almost six years ago but the 24-year-old has been a regular on the watch-list of national selectors, and the right-arm quick's fast and hostile spell will likely have plenty again pushing his claims for higher honours.

At Canterbury, Gloucestershire are closing in on victory against Kent, needing another 47 runs to achieve their target of 108 after the visitors' debutant Ryan Higgins claimed 5-22.

South Australia quick Daniel Worrall finished with match figures of 4-45.

In Division One, hosts Hampshire need seven wickets to earn a first-up win over Worcestershire in Southampton, with South Australia captain Travis Head awaiting his turn to bat for the visitors, who are 3-59 chasing 324 to win.

Former South Africa international Kyle Abbott has all three wickets, to go with three in the first innings as well as an important 51 in Hampshire's second innings.

At Old Trafford, Head's Redbacks teammate Joe Mennie claimed 3-46 in his first outing with the ball for Lancashire, with a draw looming as the most likely outcome against Nottinghamshire.

"The rain today has limited things for both teams," Mennie said after play on day three. "They bowled well yesterday morning and getting those wickets late on the first day dragged us back in.

"It's always nice to get a few wickets, it always helps to ease things a bit. It would have been nice to wrap things up a little more quickly this morning, but that was not to be, they batted pretty well.

"You're always nervous in a new competition against teams you don't know as well. But I think I settled in pretty well and I’m happy."

County Championship

Division One

At Southampton: Hampshire 290 (G Berg 75 no, J Vince 75; J Leach 4-42) and 244 (K Abbott 51) v Worcestershire 211 (O Cox 65) and 3-59

At Old Trafford: Lancashire 158 (J Ball 5-43) and 2-58 v Nottinghamshire 222 (Wessels 44, Bailey 3-26, Mennie 3-46)

Division Two

At Lord's: Middlesex 214 (B Hutton 5-54, B Sanderson 4-42) and 159 beat Northamptonshire 71 (J Harris 5-9, T Murtagh 4-27) and 142 (J Harris 4-39, T Murtagh 4-36) by 160 runs

At Canterbury: Kent 64 (M Taylor 4-20) and 153 (D Bell-Drummond 61; R Higgins 5-22) v Gloucestershire 110 (G Roderick 51; M Henry 4-33) and 1-61

At Edgbaston: Warwickshire 299 (T Ambrose 81, I Bell 70; D Wiese 4-56) v Sussex 6-194 (O Stone 6-52)