Luke Wright produced his best ever innings as Sussex pulled off one of the greatest escapes in their history at Lord’s.
The England all-rounder scored a career-best 187 to help Sussex recover from a seemingly hopeless position to draw with Middlesex.
Wright put on 159 with Ed Joyce and 101 with Will Beer as Sussex were finally dismissed for 454 after tea at Lord’s.
That gave them a lead of 177 with 20 overs remaining and although Middlesex initially gave it a go they shook hands on a draw on 50-3 after eight overs.
The unlikely result maintains Sussex’s unbeaten record and keeps them top of division one, five points ahead of Yorkshire.
A draw still looked a long way off in the morning with Sussex resuming on 228-4, still trailing by 49 following on.
Wright and Joyce took their partnership past 150 in the morning, although they needed a slice of luck to do so.
Dexter put down a tough chance at slip when Joyce was on 82 and the Sussex skipper also survived a big lbw shout from Ollie Rayner when 92.
The Ireland international was unable to take advantage by completing his century as he fell shortly after Middlesex had taken the new ball.
Joyce edged Murtagh to Rayner at second slip two short of his hundred – the fourth time he has been dismissed in the 90s this season.
Ben Brown made just three when he cut a wide ball from Jamie Harris straight to point to leave Sussex on 304-6 at lunch – leading by only 27.
When Chris Jordan departed first ball after the restart Middlesex looked hot favourites to wrap up the win with time to spare.
But Wright and Beer kept Sussex’s hopes alive with a partnership of 101 to go with their stand of 88 from the first innings.
Beer made a career best first class score of 39 from 102 balls before being caught at leg slip in Rayner’s first over after being brought back into the attack.
Wright remained steadfast, however, bringing up his tenth first class century off 179 balls and then surpassing his previous Championship best of 134 to get Sussex to tea on 412-8, a lead of 135.
The England all-rounder went on to eclipse his previous first class best of 155 before being stumped off the bowling of Joe Denly for 187 from 276 balls.
Steve Magoffin and Chris Liddle used up another four overs but Middlesex were given an outside chance when Magoffin pulled Denly to Tim Murtagh at midwicket with 20 overs left to play.
Denly and Chris Rogers produced a few lusty blows early on but boundaries were hard to come by with all the fielders out on the ropes and when Gareth Berg became the third wicket to fall the teams shook hands.