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Wickets Raine as batsmen struggle.

BEN Raine and Steven Finn led the clatter of wickets as bowlers ran amok on the first day of the Specsavers County Championship clash between Middlesex and Durham at Lord's.

Former England Test star Finn, bowled with real pace and aggression to bundle the visitors out for 147, only for Raine to respond with 3-12 to leave Middlesex's reply in tatters at 87-7, still 60 in arrears.

Australian Test star Peter Hanscomb showed runs could be made with a fluent half century for Durham, but his innings apart, this September pitch proved a graveyard for batsmen.

For more than an hour, Middlesex skipper Dawid Malan would have been questioning his decision to bowl first after winning the toss as Cameron Steel and Alex Lees looked untroubled against the new-ball.

Steel in particular was in fluent form, stroking a glorious cover drive off Seaxes' debutant Miguel Cummins before riding a lifting ball from Steven Finn to square cut it to the fence.

However, James Harris trapping of Lees (26) LBW in an impressive opening spell signalled the start of the bowlers' dominance.

Just six balls later, Finn bowled Steel (29) off an inside edge and when Cummins claimed Angus Robson caught at slip for a duck from the first ball of his second spell, three wickets had fallen for three runs in 27 deliveries.

And Tim Murtagh (3-32) made the visitors' lunch all the more indigestible when he found the edge of Gareth Harte's bat to give wicketkeeper John Simpson his first catch of the innings.

On the resumption, Murtagh trapped Scott Steel LBW and Finn followed suit to send Durham skipper Ned Eckersley on his way.

Harris accounted then accounted for Raine and Brydon Carse nicked Finn through to Simpson.

Hanscomb (54) looked a class above all else on show, standing firm to reach 50 in 66 balls with nine fours. Murtagh though retuned to castle him as the last three wickets fell for no addition to the score.

Any celebrations in the home dressing room would be short-lived, however, as Nick Gubbins fell LBW to Carse without a run on the board.

Eskinazi rode his luck to make 24 before Nathan Rimmington spread-eagled his stumps and then it was time for Rushworth.

He accounted for Robson with a beauty then his second scalp proved the better bowler you are the luckier you get as Max Holden flicked a ball crisply off his legs, but straight to Harte at square leg.

George Scott didn't last long, bowled by a beauty from Raine, who then picked up Simpson three balls later.

And the medium pacer then struck the most telling blow of all when his LBW shout against Malan (24) was upheld.

His trio of scalps had come in just 11 balls.

Only the intervention of bad light seven balls later prevented further carnage.

Afterwards, Durham's Ben Raine said: "Sometimes in cricket innings like Peter (Hanscomb) played get lost. That 50 was as good as any hundred we've scored this year.

"He's a fantastic cricketer and we've been lucky to have him. As this game goes on that 50 might be priceless.

"I think with those couple of wickets at the end we're probably just ahead. The wicket of Malan was crucial.

"If we can get them out for as close to 100 as possible, it's the kind of wicket where a 40-run lead is a lot."

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 11, 2019
Words:566
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