County Championship: Underdogs closing in on big wins

County Championship: Underdogs closing in on big wins

Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire may not be the big tips for promotion this season.

But it’s those three counties who are closing in on big ones as Division Two heads into its final day in the opening round of fixtures.

Here’s the lie of the land ahead of day four.

Stumps, Day Three: Leicestershire 252 (Hill 67; Robinson 4-46) and 99-1 (Horton 53*) require another 131 runs to beat Sussex 173 (Wiese 51; Taylor 6-47) and 308 (Salt 80; Ackermann 5-69, Taylor 4-75)

One heck of a chase is in store at Hove as Leicestershire bid for an unlikely victory at Sussex.

Paul Horton is up to 53 not out as Leicestershire closed on 99-1 in their chase of 230, looking to make the most of their first innings lead.

But Sussex have far from given up the fight, Phil Salt making 80 as all of the top five made at least 35, though a collapse from 211-2 to 308 all out has made Leicestershire’s task slightly easier.

Colin Ackermann – the fifth bowler used – bagged 5-69 while Tom Taylor completed his ten-wicket match haul with four in the second innings.

Stumps, Day Three: Durham 171 (Reece 5-47) and 10-0 require another 351 runs to beat Derbyshire 197 (Hosein 78) and 334 (Hosein 62), at Derby

The chase is also on in Derby though Durham will have to pull something remarkable out of the bag after a strong second innings from their hosts.

Gareth Harte and captain Alex Lees are at the crease with 351 runs still required after Tom Lace, Harvey Hosein and Matt Critchley all made half-centuries for Derbyshire in their second innings.

But with the pitch flattening out, a couple of strong partnerships could take Durham over the line despite being bowled out for 171 first time around.

Stumps, Day Three: Middlesex 271 (Harris 61*; Buck 5-54) and 109-2 f/o (Malan 55*) trail Northamptonshire 445 (Procter 81*; Murtagh 6-80) by 65 runs, at the County Ground

Dawid Malan and Sam Robson’s 99-run partnership has kept Middlesex fighting but plenty of work is to be done at Northampton.

The promotion favourites are following on having been bowled out for 271, with James Harris’ 61 the only resistance as Nathan Buck finished with five wickets.

Two more Buck wickets within the first seven overs of the second inning threatened a quick ending but Malan and Robson steadied the ship heading into the final day, with the former reaching a 50 for the first time this term.

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