Middlesex in strong position after day two

Middlesex ended the second day of this LV= Insurance County Championship match in a strong position against Somerset at Lord’s.

The hosts resumed on 293 for eight this morning but were eventually all out for 313. Lewis Gregory was the pick of the Somerset bowlers, claiming five for 68.

Somerset, last season’s Bob Willis Trophy finalists, were soon in trouble. Tim Murtagh made the first breakthrough, having Tom Lammonby caught behind off an inside edge and he struck again when Tom Abell steered a ball speared into him into the hands of Sam Robson at slip.

Ethan Bamber then bowled Tom Banton, and when George Bartlett poked another probing ball to a diving Simpson the visitors were 17 for four.

James Hildreth looked assured, but Bamber trapped him in front with the first ball after lunch and with Toby Roland-Jones accounting for Steve Davies and Craig Overton Somerset slumped to 81 for nine before the last pair came together.

Marchant de Lange and Jack Leach shared a stand of 83 and ensured that Somerset avoided the follow on.

The pair struck the ball confidently from the outset and de Lange made 51 from 50 balls until Martin Andersson finally ended the revelry by bowling the South African to leave Leach unbeaten on 28 and Somerset all out for 172.

Middlesex then reached 87 for two by stumps, a lead of 228.

Max Holden and first innings centurion Robson fell cheaply, but Nick Gubbins and Stevie Eskinazi added 75 for the third wicket before bad light ended play 10 overs early.

The action took place amid the sombre news of the death this morning of The Duke of Edinburgh,  Prince Philip, a former MCC President. Flags were flown at half-mast and two minutes silence was observed before the start of the afternoon session.

At the close of play Marchant de Lange said: “There are mixed emotions, but wherever I can contribute to the team whether with bat or ball, that’s what I want to do.

“I try and keep my batting simple as in see ball hit ball and that’s paid off in the past. I’m obviously a tail-ender, so I don’t want to overthink it.

“I wasn’t thinking about the follow-on. I was just trying to contribute. Leachy has unbelievable technique so hats off to him.

“The game’s not over. We’ve got to take eight more poles and hopefully get ourselves back in the game.”

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19/08/2022 14:00 - The Cooper Associates County Ground