Middlesex bowling attack boosted by healthy rivalry, says Murtagh

08:30 10 May 2012

Tim Murtagh

Tim Murtagh

© Sarah Williams 2012

Middlesex’s seam bowlers are determined to outdo each other – and that is the key to their success in the County Championship this season, says Tim Murtagh.

Murtagh combined with fellow seamers Steven Finn, Toby Roland-Jones and Gareth Berg to bowl out Worcestershire for 150 last weekend and earn the Lord’s side their second win of the campaign.

So far the quartet, along with former West Indies paceman Corey Collymore – who was rested for the Worcestershire game – have shared the wickets around, with nobody yet claiming more than four in an innings.

“I felt we bowled exceptionally and everyone chipped in,” Murtagh told london24.com. “We bowled as a unit and hunted as a pack and that’s what we’ve done all season.

“People always talk about bowling in partnerships and, if someone’s bowling well at one end, it’s up to the other guy to fill the more unselfish role, bowl dots and make sure we’re controlling the run-rate.

“But I know if I’m picking up wickets at my end then Finny’s desperate to get on the scoreboard at the other end and likewise, if he’s getting wickets it fires me up.

“That may be a slightly selfish way of thinking but it spurs us on as a group, which is ultimately the goal.

“No team does well without a strong bowling attack and we’ve built that up over the last couple of years.

“We’ve got some firepower still to come in – people like Steven Crook, Anthony Ireland and Robbie Williams. There are guys waiting in the wings and strength in depth is always a good thing.

“It’s a bit like a football club being able to rotate and rest players at different points of the season. Hopefully we can all stay fit and give the management some good selection problems.”

Murtagh’s figures of 3-39 against Worcestershire took his season’s tally to 14 in the County Championship so far – two behind Roland-Jones, who recorded 3-29.

Roland-Jones is sitting out Middlesex’s current four-day match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge due to a foot injury, with off-spinner Ollie Rayner coming into the side.

Although Finn bowled Neil Edwards with his first ball, unbeaten half-centuries from Alex Hales and Michael Lumb guided Nottinghamshire to a healthy 132-1 on an opening day truncated by bad weather.

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