Marcus Harris, Colin Ackermann gun down 378 as Leicestershire break season’s duck

Report

Pair’s 243-run stand proves crucial as Middlesex sink to sixth defeat in eight

Leicestershire 136 (Parkinson 41, Andersson 4-27) and 378 for 5 (Harris 185, Ackermann 126*) beat Middlesex 295 (Simpson 95*) and 218 (Eskinazi 46, Wright 6-48)

Although they suffered an attack of the jitters late in the piece, Leicestershire broke their duck for the season in the County Championship with a remarkable victory over Middlesex, chasing down an unlikely target of 378 to achieve the third-highest successful fourth-innings run chase in their history.

They did so on the back of a magnificent 185 from Australian Test opener Marcus Harris, having been 159 behind on first innings after being bowled out for 136.
Harris shared a stand of 243 for the third wicket with Colin Ackermann, Leicestershire’s captain and most experienced player, who ultimately had the know-how to finish the job after seeing two new partners buckle under the pressure, although even he had his own heart-in-the-mouth moment.

Reprieved on 103 when he sliced a drive off Ethan Bamber but was dropped when the unfortunate Martin Andersson misjudged the chance and spilled it at third man, the South African-born allrounder saw his side home by five wickets with just 3.5 overs to spare.

The match had sharp echoes of the 2018 meeting between these sides on this ground, when Middlesex, having been 194 behind on first innings, chased down 381 in the last innings to pull off a remarkable win, albeit by only one wicket. This time, Middlesex went home licking their wounds as they have so often this season, suffering a sixth defeat in eight matches to swap places with Leicestershire at the bottom of Group Two.

Among successful fourth-innings run chases in Leicestershire’s history, this has been bettered only twice, when they reached a target of 391 to beat Derbyshire in 1947 and 381 to beat Northamptonshire in 1980, each time at Grace Road.

Yet the omens had not looked good for Leicestershire when Sam Evans fell to the seventh ball of the day, caught behind down the leg side for the second time in the match with only eight runs added to their overnight score and still 295 needed.

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