LOSING Middlesex captain Chris Rogers says Yorkshire remain his tip to win the LV= County Championship after the hosts completed a comprehensive 220-run win at Scarborough to return to the top of Division One.
Australian Test opener Rogers accepted that his side were “outclassed” by a White Rose outfit who take a five-point lead over Nottinghamshire into the season’s last four matches.
Rogers hit 44 as Middlesex were bowled out for 201 in pursuit of 422 with the best part of 16 overs remaining on the final day.
Leg-spinner Adil Rashid took his second four-wicket haul in two matches after Yorkshire had declared their second innings before play.
Rashid and company picked up 21 points for their fifth win of the season.
Rashid returned a season’s best 4-27 from 17.3 overs and Jack Brooks 3-30 from 15 as Middlesex lost their last six wickets for 38 inside 15 overs after tea having been comfortably placed at 163-4 with Eoin Morgan and first-innings centurion John Simpson in.
Morgan and Simpson, who made 61, batted for the best part of 30 overs to share 71 for the fifth wicket.
“Yorkshire are a very good side. As I said to a lot of the guys in our side, ‘that’s first-class cricket, that’s what it’s all about’,” said Rogers.
“It’s tough, and when you come up against sides like that, you need to stand up. I thought we played quite well at times, but we just got outclassed in the end.
“I tipped Yorkshire early on to win the title, and I haven’t changed my mind.
“It’s down to them and whether they can carry on this form all the way through. As a batsman, their bowling attack is as good as any in the competition and their batters are in form.
“It’s a good mix for them.”
Yorkshire took wickets at crucial times yesterday, including two in two balls after lunch from Steve Patterson as Middlesex slipped to 92-4 by losing Rogers, caught one-handed at second slip, by Adam Lyth and Paul Stirling lbw.
But it was Brooks and, in particular, Rashid who tipped the game Yorkshire’s way in a dramatic passage of play after tea.
“I felt by tea we’d bowled really well,” said Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie, who saw Lyth take four catches in the innings and seven in the match.
“I thought our afternoon bowling was fantastic. Patterson’s spell straight after lunch up the hill. He kept it tight, created opportunities and picked up two wickets. Rogers and Stirling - we know how dangerous they are.
“That really put Middlesex on the back foot before their really good partnership. Then, in the final session, to crack that open, Rash bowled beautifully.
“The pace he bowled was key. We also took our catches, which is so vital.
“There were some great snares there. It’s a very good win. It’s nice to be at the top, but there’s a long way to go.”
Scoreboard: LV= County Championship division one, Yorkshire v Middlesex - Yorkshire first innings: 253 (A Lyth 117, S T Finn 4-81). Middlesex first innings: 232 (J A Simpson 110, D J Malan 78; R J Sidebottom 7-44. Yorkshire second innings: 400-5 (A W Gale 126, A Z Lees 67; Murtagh 3-64). Middlesex second innings: 201 (J A Simpson 61, C J L Rogers 44; A U Rashid 4-27, J A Brooks 3-30)