Chris Rushworth produced a remarkable performance with 15 wickets in 20 overs as Durham made startlingly short work of relegated Northamptonshire in LV= County Championship Division One action.
A contest without wider significance – Northants have been booked for a return to Division Two for many weeks and Durham are safe – was lit up as Rushworth took the first eight wickets to fall in the hapless visitors’ 83 all out in reply to 392. The 28-year-old seamer’s designs on a rare all-10 feat were dashed only when Ben Stokes intervened with the wicket of Maurice Chambers.
Stokes then struck first when Northants followed on. But Rushworth, who had finished with a career-best 9-52 in the first innings, soon clicked into gear again to take his match haul to a club record 15-95.
Northants were bowled out twice in 40.2 overs – for 90 second time round – to lose by an innings and 219 runs in a match which suffered a first-day washout.
Middlesex are sure to have work left to do against fellow strugglers Lancashire at Old Trafford next week to avoid accompanying Northants on the way down.
Much-needed defiance from Eoin Morgan (82) and Toby Roland-Jones, with a career-best 77 in an eighth-wicket stand of 130, helped the Londoners eke out an improbable batting point as they turned 61-7 into 223 all out against Somerset at Taunton.
Middlesex still found themselves following on 300 runs behind, after Jack Leach and Alfonso Thomas shared six wickets, but they then closed on 140-1 second time round after Chris Rogers (97no) put on an unbroken 126 with Dawid Malan.
They may still need forecast help from the weather to close out a draw today and therefore carry a buffer of 19 rather than 14 points into their relegation shoot-out in Manchester.
There is likely to be less drama on the final day at Trent Bridge, where Nottinghamshire’s chances are far from obvious of conjuring the win they need over Sussex to stand any chance of deposing Warwickshire as championship runners-up.
James Taylor added 25 to his overnight 101 as Notts reached 413 all out, for a first-innings lead of 22, Sussex replying with 244-3 in only 45.3 overs.
In Division Two, opener Billy Godleman (104no) and India Test batsman Cheteshwar Pujara (90no) helped Derbyshire seal an eight-wicket win over Surrey at The Oval. The visitors were set 251 to win and achieved the task with more than a day to spare after Godleman put on 94 for the first wicket with Ben Slater and 154 with Pujara.