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    At the other end of the County Championship, it looks like Warwickshire have condemned Lancashire to relegation today, along with Hampshire.

    Lancs need 319 more runs to beat Warwickshire at Edgbaston, and while they still have Hameed in, they are three wickets down after Jeetan Patel claimed his 67th wicket of the season. Whatever happens for the Bears, they will absolutely be glad to finish this season. I imagine Dougie Brown is soon for the trap door, to be honest. Warwickshire have been completely underwhelming, and started the season as favourites to wrestle the County Championship title from Yorkshire, but ended up in a relegation scrap.

    Regardless of their Royal London One-Day Cup victory at Lord's this weekend, the 2016 campaign has been dreadful for Warwickshire, though it's pleasing to see that Trott's autobiography serialisation this week (which revealed his book takes serious shots at Michael Vaughan) hasn't derailed their survival bid.

    Hampshire need a win to ensure survival - but it looks unlikely. They'll bat for an hour in the morning, apparently, having achieved 176-7 by stumps today, after their first innings total of 411 was met with 361 in reply by Durham. Hampshire's bowlers will need to make quick work of Stokes and co, but if they do manage to take ten wickets, they'll have earned their survival.
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    Almost 150 runs without a third wicket for Middlesex at Lords. May yet be drinks in Somerset tonight.
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    Well, quite an uneventful day in the NZ and India Test in truth.

    But all the pre-match talk of NZ struggling on these raging turners, when faced by India's spin heavy attack, has been rubbished. NZ are a fantastic batting side and they bat deep. Even with the likes of Taylor being inconsistent, they have two talismanic presences in Williamson and Guptill, and though the latter was removed cheaply, they are making a mockery of the home side's decision to deploy just four bowlers.

    Williamson and Latham conducted a century stand, propelling the visitors to 152 for 1 before rain washed out the final session of day two. The former is on 66*, while the latter is 56*.
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    So Middlesex seem to all but gift Yorkshire the title, who need 240 off 40. Tough pill to swallow if your a Somerset fan.
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    (Original post by The Wavefunction)
    So Middlesex seem to all but gift Yorkshire the title, who need 240 off 40. Tough pill to swallow if your a Somerset fan.
    Agree that is the most likely outcome. Though with fading light at around 6?
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    (Original post by barnetlad)
    Agree that is the most likely outcome. Though with fading light at around 6?
    Every chance of that at this time of year, but looks a lovely day tbf. I'd be surprised if Yorkshire didn't get it, although it's a very slow pitch so scoring could be difficult.
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    Yorkshire two down for 39.
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    Hmm, maybe there's a chance that the Middlesex players and coaches know a little bit more about cricket than myself and the rest of social media do. Who'd have thought, aye?
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    (Original post by The Wavefunction)
    Hmm, maybe there's a chance that the Middlesex players and coaches know a little bit more about cricket than myself and the rest of social media do. Who'd have thought, aye?
    And have confidence in their bowlers. Three down now though if Tim Bresnan plays as well as the first innings, who knows?
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    Trail by 75 now, with five wickets in hand. I fancy Yorkshire to do this...
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    Tim Bresnan and Andrew Gale out. Six down. Could it be a Middlesex win?
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    I never expected a Middlesex win or it coming from a hat trick
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    What a day's cricket. The top two trends on Twitter both relate to Middlesex vs Yorkshire, which just shows how this County Championship climax has captured the public's attention, not to mention the fact that everybody I know - aside from cricket fans, too - was mentioning it on social media today. What an advertisement, and it is something the ECB need to capitalise on, but I doubt they will.

    Roland-Jones is the hat-trick hero - and that should propel him into England contention before too long. Middlesex win their first title since 1993, but spare a thought for Jason Gillespie, who returns to Australia having changed the face of Yorkshire cricket and just failing at the final hurdle in his bid for a third successive title. The match today proved that Yorkshire, with a bowler-heavy team, lacked the firepower when the match came down to white-ball characteristics and feats. Did they miss Bairstow? Probably.

    Steven Finn was bang on the money when he said it was more entertaining and tense than any Test. It was essentially a knockout limited overs match, dressed up in whites with a red ball.

    Spare a thought, too, for Somerset. They more than played their part - and what a career Rogers is signing off from. The table never lies, though. Somerset will be back, though. Bess is fantastic, Abell is a dominant opener, the Overton twins are great, and Leach is the division's finest slow-armer (he finishes the season with 68 first-class wickets). Their local players have come to the fore, and in style, meaning the future is very much bright for them despite today's heartbreak.
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    A thrilling finale for the final game and it's a shame the attention it has got comes nowhere close to the focus the preceding games get but that's a long-term issue.

    With Yorkshire having fallen short, one can only wonder the environment Rashid will be coming back to next season with the hurt and frustration of losing this final game in agonising circumstances.

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    (Original post by Aky786UK)
    A thrilling finale for the final game and it's a shame the attention it has got comes nowhere close to the focus the preceding games get but that's a long-term issue.

    With Yorkshire having fallen short, one can only wonder the environment Rashid will be coming back to next season with the hurt and frustration of losing this final game in agonising circumstances.

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    Laying the blame on him is really petty IMO. He had genuine reasons to be excused from the game and if the fans can't see that, I feel sorry for him.

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    I think Yorkshire missed Bairstow more than Rashid, which will no doubt spark controversy given the ECB's stance on the matter.

    Goodbye, Dizzy. You tried. No doubt he'll be Australia'a bowling coach by the end of the year.*
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    What a turn up. Pakistan beat West Indies by nine wickets in the first T20I in Dubai.

    Imad Wasim's 5 for 14 inspired the hosts, and made the reigning world champions look utterly ordinary. Bravo and Taylor managed to strike up the highest ninth partnership in T20I history, with the former achieving 55 and the latter 21, but they were the only two to achieve double figures.

    The cracked surface played into Wasim's hands, but he didn't get WI batsmen out with any raging turners. He used drift and exposed the upper WI order, dismissing Lewis (whom I had been talking up) in the first over, before Fletcher and Samuels in the third over. Wasim ended with figures of 4-0-14-5 after dismissing Brathwaite.

    In truth, it could have been worse for the visitors when they were reduced to 48 for 8 in 12 overs, but Pakistan managed to knock off that target with 34 balls to spare as Sharjeel Khan was dismissed by Badree, which served as WI's only wicket with Azam 55* and Latif 34* taking Pakistan over the line.
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    Really good day for India against NZ. Ashwin and Jadeja - who racked up four and five wickets respectively - were exceptional, finding drift and turn on a cracked surface to really trouble the New Zealand batsmen after the visiting side enjoyed a decent platform on day one, through Latham and Williamson.

    Today was just a nightmare for the away side, though, with India running through them to earn a 56-run first-innings lead.

    Vijay and Pujara hit seven fours in the first three overs of the final session, too, asserting Indian dominance and achieving unbeaten half-centuries as the hosts racked up a 215 lead by stumps.

    New Zealand's only wicket came in the last over before tea, when KL Rahul was dismissed. Plenty of work for NZ, who will be gutted to see their first innings flail in the manner of which it did, having lost their last five wickets in the space of 29 balls after lunch, for only seven runs.

    Jadeja is just a master in Asia. It's hard to pick it out of the hand when he bowls so quick, and he bowls such a consistent line and length, so it's no surprise he consistently runs through tails.
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    (Original post by Enginerd.)
    Laying the blame on him is really petty IMO. He had genuine reasons to be excused from the game and if the fans can't see that, I feel sorry for him.

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    You are right, it shouldn't but subconsciously in the mind of Gale, it might stay with him as he has had previous with Rashid. Only aspect of his statement that caused confusion was on his playing schedule compared to other players. He would have been wise not to mention that IMO

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    Worth remembering, too, that there are two very different limited overs matches this weekend.

    SA face Ireland tomorrow, and while you'd back the former to win comfortably (and they will do), it'll be intriguing to see how the quota system is deployed - especially with ABDV and Amla out. Will Bavuma open the batting? I'd expect so. I can't imagine Ireland will put up too much resistance.

    Obviously, Bangladesh face Afghanistan, too. That's probably the more notable of the two matches, because it's bound to be tighter. Taskin is set to return for Bangladesh's first ODI in 2016 after his action was cleared, and they will be buoyed by his presence, as well as the recruitment of former West Indies captain Courtney Walsh as bowling coach and former Sri Lanka batsman Thilan Samaraweera as batting consultant. Mashrafe Mortaza says he wants them to play "all-out aggressive cricket", which will be fun to see.
 
 
 
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