Match report provided by the ECB Reporters Network.
Sam Robson’s second successive century, combined with an afternoon downpour, denied Nottinghamshire top spot in LV= Insurance County Championship Division Two as Middlesex salvaged a draw at Lord’s.
Robson’s resolute knock of 101 not out, supported by an even grittier unbeaten 18 from Max Holden, thwarted Nottinghamshire’s bowlers as they pressed for the victory that would have lifted them above their hosts at the summit.
The Middlesex pair shared an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 101 to steer their side to 133 for three – chasing a nominal target of 516 – before rain wiped out Nottinghamshire’s hopes of forcing a third consecutive Championship win.
The contest was eventually abandoned at 16:58, leaving the visitors ruing their decision not to make Middlesex follow on after dismissing them for 195 first time around.
Survival had effectively been the aim for the Seaxes ever since day two and Robson and Holden dug in again after resuming at 69 for three, adding only three runs in the first six overs.
Holden had already been at the crease for more than two hours before he progressed into double figures but, although Stuart Broad beat the bat a number of times, the pair managed to see off his initial spell.
James Pattinson looked the most dangerous of the Nottinghamshire seamers, unleashing a ball that reared up at Robson and brushed his glove, only to drop just short of Ben Duckett at second slip.
Robson fended off another rising delivery from Pattinson through the vacant third slip area to advance to 96 – and he leg-glanced the next one to the boundary as well, bringing up his hundred from 177 balls.
Broad switched to the Pavilion End for a second spell, but the Test paceman was barely into his rhythm when rain arrived and the players left the field at 12.30pm, with the situation never improving sufficiently for them to return.
Steven Mullaney and Luke Fletcher left Middlesex facing the prospect of their heaviest ever runs defeat at Lord’s on a sobering third day of their LV = Insurance County Championship clash.
Mullaney, plundered a magnificent unbeaten 55-ball hundred littered with mighty blows while Fletcher scored his second 50 of the match and Joe Clarke hit 66 not out before the visitors declared on 295-5, 515 runs ahead.
Fletcher wasn’t done there either, ripping out both Middlesex openers for ducks among figures of two for six as the host struggled to 69-3 at the close.
They need to reach 216 to avoid rewriting the record books, having lost by 301 runs to Ray Illingworth’s Leicestershire at the home of cricket in 1976.
First innings centurion Haseeb Hameed departed early after slashing a wide ball from Toby Roland-Jones to Sam Robson at slip.
Fletcher however revelled in his role as night-watchman, picking up where he’d left off 24 hours earlier to plant a rare half-volley from Tim Murtagh into the grandstand. The shot travelled down the stairs of the stand meaning Middlesex opener Mark Stoneman was forced to temporarily leave the field to retrieve the ball from the spectator concourse.
While Ben Slater took 28 balls to get off the mark, Fletcher made hay in the sun, forging on to make his second 50 of the match, the first time he’d ever achieved the feat in his professional career. As in the first innings he departed to his next ball, trapped lbw by Martin Andersson.
Ben Duckett continued the momentum, hitting Luke Hollman for three fours in an over before attempting to reverse sweep the leg-spinner only to send it down the throat of skipper Peter Handscomb at long leg.
Hollman, who returned three for 77, struck again in his first over after lunch with a superb caught and bowled to remove Slater and he later dislodged Lyndon James’ off-bail with one which proved too close to cut.
The remainder of the innings however was batting carnage, Joe Clarke pulling a short ball from Murtagh into the Grandstand as he moved to 50 in 73 balls.
This though was snail-like compared to skipper Mullaney, who first hit Hollman out of the attack before planting his replacement Josh De Caires into the Warner Stand over cover as his half-century came in 31 balls.
Incredibly he then accelerated, racing to 100 in another 24 deliveries, smiting Andersson for two sixes in an over and then belting Hollman back over his head with a shot which struck the pavilion sightscreen.
The declaration came leaving Middlesex facing a record chase for 516 or pragmatically four sessions to bat for a draw.
Fletcher all but ruined those hopes with his opening salvo, removing Stoneman caught a slip for a second ball duck before bowling De Caires, also without scoring, the ball deviating from the glove to the wicket, the youngster’s decision to withdraw the bat having come too late.
Handscomb somehow survived 46 torturous minutes before edging James Pattinson to Duckett at second slip to leave the Seaxes 32 for three.
Robson though stood firm, surviving a huge caught behind shout when on six to reach a stubborn 50 shortly before the close and hopes of an unlikely draw rest heavily on the shoulders of the former England opener.
James Pattinson took the bowling plaudits as Nottinghamshire dominated on day two of their LV = Insurance County Championship clash with Middlesex at Lord’s.
The former Australian international had just six wickets from his two outings this term prior to the trip to Lord’s, but was clearly inspired by coming through the Grace Gates, returning four for 49 as the hosts were shot out for 195, 220 runs behind.
Pattinson’s sterling effort came in the wake of a thrilling 50 at No 11 for Luke Fletcher which lifted Nottinghamshire to 415 and maximum batting points despite four for 64 for Toby Roland-Jones and six catches behind the stumps for wicketkeeper John Simpson.
Nottinghamshire elected not to enforce the follow-on, Fletcher’s earlier heroics seeing him promoted to open as night-watchman as they closed on 4-0 second time around.
The morning was the story of two pacemen on opposite sides of the contest, Roland-Jones for the hosts and Fletcher for the visitors, the latter with willow in hand.
Roland-Jones, who’d bowled frugally without reward 24 hours earlier struck with the first ball of the day, trapping Steven Mullaney in front for his overnight 92.
It would be the first of four scalps for the former England seamer, the pick of which was a beauty to disturb the top of Liam Patterson-White’s off-stump.
At 352-9 Nottinghamshire were subsiding quickly but Fletcher joined Stuart Broad for a swashbuckling last-wicket stand of 63. In truth, Broad was a passenger as Fletcher struck some fearsome blows, twice thumping leg-spinner Luke Hollman straight back over this head for six.
By the time he edged Martin Andersson through to Simpson, Fletcher had sped to a run a ball 50, the sixth of his first-class career, and made the host’s lunch almost indigestible.
In reply Middlesex, perhaps affected by the scoreboard pressure of chasing 415 indulged in self-inflicted wounds as first Robson lost his off-stump offering no shot to Pattinson before Mark Stoneman set off for a suicidal single, only for Fletcher to swoop on the ball and throw down the stumps at the striker’s end, leaving Josh De Caires well short. Fletcher’s celebration was reminiscent of Imran Tahir – joy unconfined.
Stoneman and skipper Peter Handscomb briefly threatened a comeback, the latter hooking several short balls bowled in a bid to bounce him out.
Whatever the Nottinghamshire boys had for tea the impact was immediate as Pattinson, despite having had some no-ball troubles, castled Stoneman with one which jagged between bat and pad. And when he trapped Handscomb lbw two short of 50 Middlesex were in retreat.
Max Holden was Patterson-White’s 19th victim of the season when he like Robson offered no shot and was plumb in front, while Simpson, so often Middlesex’s man for a crisis, was given a life when dropped at slip, only to be pinned in front by the irrepressible Fletcher soon afterwards.
Pattinson however couldn’t be kept from centre-stage for long, returning this time at the Nursery End to make Hollman the fifth lbw victim of the innings.
Broad (three for 39) , in what may be his last game before the First Test against New Zealand next month, finally got in on the act when Roland-Jones obligingly hooked him down long-leg’s throat and he then removed Martin Andersson, when he gloved a short ball to square leg in a desperate quest for runs.
The England quick bowled Tim Murtagh to end Middlesex’s batting misery, but the division two leaders face an uphill battle to save the game heading into day three.
Haseeb Hameed displayed his liking for Lord’s again as he struck his first century of the season to put Nottinghamshire in charge of their LV= Insurance County Championship game against Middlesex.
Hameed, discarded by England after a barren Ashes series last winter, reminded the new regime of his considerable talent with a knock of 112 as the visitors posted 329 for five after being put in.
It was the 25-year-old’s first domestic appearance at Lord’s since his 117 underpinned a seven-wicket win for Lancashire three years ago and he looked in good touch, sharing a century stand with Notts captain Steven Mullaney.
The skipper was 92 not out at stumps, with Middlesex’s bowlers persevering but unable to make major inroads despite two wickets apiece for Ethan Bamber and Martin Andersson.
Despite the loss of overseas star Shaheen Afridi – returning to Pakistan ahead of next month’s white-ball series against West Indies – Middlesex bolstered their attack by bringing in Tim Murtagh, now recovered from a hamstring injury.
Murtagh marked his comeback with a wicket in the first over of the day, finding the edge of Ben Slater’s bat – and he might also have added the scalp of Ben Duckett, driving outside off stump.
However, Peter Handscomb could not hold the chance at first slip and the left-hander took advantage of his escape, twice steering Murtagh to the rope later in the same over as runs started to flow.
Toby Roland-Jones was the only bowler to establish a notable degree of control, beating the bat several times and conceding only six runs in his opening six-over burst from the Pavilion End.
Duckett and Hameed were quick to punish anything too full, making good use of the short boundary as they shared a stand of 99, but Nottinghamshire were pegged back by Bamber’s post-lunch spell.
The seamer moved one away from Duckett (43) to give John Simpson his second catch before Joe Clarke dragged an inswinger onto his stumps in Bamber’s next over without scoring.
The visitors slumped to 150 for four when Andersson had Lyndon James (21) caught behind, but Mullaney joined forces with Hameed and immediately took charge of their partnership of 117.
Hameed brought up his hundred from the first delivery of the evening session, clipping Murtagh off his pads for four – yet the opener then seemed to retreat into his shell and eventually perished having a nibble at Andersson’s outswinger.
But Mullaney, who pulled Andersson over the fence to reach his half-century, and Tom Moores, with an undefeated 35, had guided Nottinghamshire into a strong position when bad light ended play.
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Match report provided by the ECB Reporters Network.
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