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Middlesex will need to win their final match against Yorkshire to guarantee a
first County Championship title since 1993 after a draw with Lancashire.
Set 309 from 44 overs, Lancashire ended the chase on after makeshift opener Jos Buttler was out for a 14-ball 26 and closed on 80-1 at Old Trafford.
Middlesex earlier declared on 240-8, Dawid Malan top-scoring with 87.
Lancashire will need 11 points from their final match against Warwickshire to ensure relegation is avoided.
Middlesex hold a nine-point advantage over second-placed Yorkshire, who visit Lord’s next week.
A draw or a Yorkshire win could let in Somerset, who play bottom club Nottinghamshire at Taunton.
That neither side was able to force victory was down in part to an increasingly flat pitch and two moments involving Lancashire’s Buttler.
The first came when John Simpson, on eight, edged Tom Bailey to offer a very difficult chance, one that the wicketkeeper could not take in his left hand.
Simpson (74) and Malan went on to share 151, taking Middlesex from their third-evening position of 55-4 to relative safety.
Malan eventually edged Simon Kerrigan behind, one of six wickets for the left-arm spinner, before Middlesex declared to leave Lancashire a fanciful target.
Buttler’s promotion to the top of the order showed that the hosts briefly entertained chasing the victory that would have guaranteed their safety, the England wicketkeeper going through his whole repertoire of strokes.
But after he got a leading edge off Steven Finn to be caught at cover, Rob Jones and Haseeb Hameed saw Lancashire through.
By the time hands were shaken, first-innings centurion Jones has passed 500 minutes at the crease in the match without being dismissed.
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