LV County Championship - Division Two
Southgate - Day Four
Middlesex 493-7 dec (A J Strauss 150, P J Hughes 139, E J G Morgan 114 no, T J Murtagh 51 no) v Leicestershire 258 (T J New 66, J J Cobb 60) & 400-7 dec (J W A Taylor 122 no, H H Dippenaar 93, H D Ackerman 60, T J Murtagh 5-83)
Middlesex (12pts) drew with Leicestershire (8pts)
James Taylor's maiden first-class century helped Leicestershire salvage an unlikely draw against Middlesex on Friday.
The diminutive 19-year-old played a monumental innings of almost 300 minutes to finish unbeaten on 122 having steered his side to safety on 400 for seven following on.
The Wisden Almanack's schools cricketer of the year for 2008, arrived at the crease with his side still deep in trouble on 205 for five - 30 behind Middlesex's first innings total.
Middlesex seamer Tim Murtagh had bagged three for one in eight deliveries in the morning session, with Boeta Dippenaar falling to an lbw decision seven runs short of his first hundred for the Foxes.
Joshua Cobb followed the very next ball to another leg before dismissal and HD Ackerman (60) had his middle stump removed in Murtagh's next over.
But Taylor and his veteran skipper Paul Nixon performed doggedly, scoring 108 runs in 45 overs, before the former England gloveman edged Dawid Malan to substitute wicketkeeper John Simpson.
Despite losing Wayne White for 19, caught behind to give Murtagh figures of five for 83, no one could remove Taylor and at 5pm the captains shook hands to agree a draw.
Boeta Dippenaar and Hylton Ackerman kept alive Leicestershire's hopes of salvaging a draw against Middlesex at Southgate.
The South African pair put on an unbroken third-wicket stand of 96 to lead the Foxes to 177-2, still 58 behind, in their second innings at stumps on day three.
Middlesex had enforced the follow on after Leicestershire slipped from 161-5 at the start of the day to 258 all out, a first-innings deficit of 235.
And capitulation appeared on the cards when Matthew Boyce (1) was trapped leg before to Tim Murtagh (1-47) from the fifth ball of their second innings.
Tom New made 43 before edging to slip off Shaun Udal (1-34), but Leicestershire proved their willingness for the fight by battling through to stumps without further loss with Dippenaar unbeaten on 85 and Ackerman 45 not out.
Leicestershire limped to 161-5 after Phil Hughes and Eoin Morgan had helped Middlesex smash their way to 493-7 declared at Southgate.
Resuming in the morning on 281-2, the home county continued to pile on the runs at a rapid rate despite losing five wickets in the first session.
Needing just one to reach three figures for the second successive LV County Championship match, Hughes scampered a single to bring up his landmark before going on the attack against the second new ball.
The Australian hammered 15 off one over from Andrew Harris before the bowler got his revenge later on, getting Hughes caught behind for 139.
However, Morgan made the most of a docile pitch to push his England claims. The left-hander ended up unbeaten on 114 from 140 balls, hitting 14 fours and four sixes in the process. Tim Murtagh weighed in with 51 not out, his maiden half-century for Middlesex.
Leicestershire struggled in reply, opener Tom New's 66 a rare highlight as Steve Finn picked up 3-42 to put the hosts firmly in control at the midway point.
England captain Andrew Strauss and Australian team-mate Phil Hughes laid down early markers for this summer's Ashes against a toiling Leicestershire bowling attack.
The two Middlesex left-handers came together when Billy Godleman fell lbw to the seventh ball of the match and proceeded to post a second-wicket stand of 244 in 53 overs after Shaun Udal had elected to bat first on a slow and docile pitch.
Godleman, trapped on the crease by an Andrew Harris off-cutter, was to prove Leicestershire's only victim for the best part of four and a half hours as Strauss and Hughes helped Middlesex reach 281 for two at the close.
The second breakthrough finally arrived three balls after Strauss had reached 150 from 164 deliveries, the England skipper edging a delivery from Wayne White through to wicketkeeper Paul Nixon.
The rain then arrived to save Leicestershire from further punishment, leaving Hughes stranded on 99 not out going into day two.