Neil Dexter's career-best five for 27 enabled Middlesex to gain the upper hand on the third day of their LV= County Championship match against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.
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When bad light caused a premature end to a compelling day of cricket the home side had reached 182 for nine in their second innings, an overall lead of just 107.
Dexter, thrust into the role of fourth medium-pacer due to the absence of the injured James Harris, ripped through the Nottinghamshire top order with a spell of four wickets in 13 deliveries, which included three in one over.
His haul began with an injudicious pull from Samit Patel, which ballooned high to midwicket, where substitute fielder Harry Podmore held a well-judged catch.
Nottinghamshire then collapsed spectacularly during Dexter's third over, which began with James Taylor being caught behind, playing loosely away from his body.Riki Wessels, incapacitated by a hamstring injury and batting with a runner, chased an away swinger and Chris Read did not play a shot and was given out lbw.
Dexter's first five-wicket haul was completed when a thick nick, from the bat of Ajmal Shahzad, flew to Dawid Malan at first slip.
From a seemingly hopeless position of 68 for seven, still seven behind, Nottinghamshire gave themselves some hope with a punchy and entertaining stand of 89 between Andre Adams and Luke Fletcher.
The pair prospered after Adams had been put down early in his innings, ironically by Dexter at deep square leg, and remained together until Fletcher was bowled for 47 just before the close.
Middlesex claimed eight of the nine Nottinghamshire wickets in the space of 28.2 overs between lunch and tea, beginning with the dismissal of Ed Cowan, bowled by Tim Murtagh for one and Michael Lumb, lbw to Toby Roland-Jones to complete a pair in the match.
Alex Hales made 32 but it was the savage hitting of 37-year old Adams, who launched three sixes in his undefeated 50, that showed some of his colleagues how it should be done.
Earlier, after a delayed start, Middlesex's first innings ended on 353, with John Simpson being left high and dry on 97 not out.
Simpson, dropped in the slips by Patel when on 92, lost control of his own destiny and missed out on a chance of a century by handing the strike back to last man Murtagh who then edged Adams through to wicketkeeper Read.