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Middlesex v Sussex: Day Two match updates

Day Two - Close of Play

Sussex 1st inns: 300

Half-centuries from Matt Machan, Mike Yardy and Luke Wells earned Sussex a 66-run first innings lead on day two of their LV= County Championship Division One match against Middlesex at Lord’s.

Machan hit a superb 81 from 107 balls, while Yardy’s 70 and Wells’s 61 were more gritty affairs as Sussex replied with a creditable 300 to Middlesex’s first innings 234.

But left-arm spinner Ravi Patel’s 4 for 42 on a worn pitch gave notice that batting will not be easy in the fourth innings of this game and Middlesex, reaching stumps at 47 for no wicket in their second innings, are now just 19 runs behind and have the opportunity to set Sussex a demanding victory target.

Sam Robson did the bulk of the scoring in the last 15 overs of the day, ending unbeaten on 41 while Nick Gubbins remained becalmed on 3 not out.

At the start of the day Machan and Wells added 134 in 34 overs for Sussex’s second wicket, taking them to 155 for one just before lunch after they had resumed on an overnight 33 for one.

But Patel, strangely ignored until 150 runs were on the board, struck with his ninth ball to send back Machan with a magnificent delivery which spun back up the Lord’s slope to bowl the left-hander through the gate after he had included two sixes and nine fours in a high-class innings.

Then, after lunch, Patel added the scalps of Wells, Chris Nash and Ben Brown in a skilful 17-over spell from the Pavilion End. Wells edged to slip in the first over of the afternoon session, Nash skied to mid on after reaching 22, and Brown had made just 4 when he lifted a drive to be caught low at extra cover by Ollie Rayner.

Hastening Sussex’s middle-order slide, too, was the fall of Luke Wright for 1 – bowled as he tried to pull a ball from Tim Murtagh that looked to be too full for the stroke.

Ashar Zaidi, however, hit Patel’s last two balls for four to take Sussex past Middlesex’s first innings score and start a revival which, from 216 for six, saw relegation-threatened Sussex secure three valuable batting bonus points.

Zaidi made 16 before falling to the second new ball, caught down the legside off Toby Roland-Jones, but his stand of 38 with Yardy was followed by another important partnership between Yardy and Ollie Robinson.

That raised 40 in 12.2 overs, with Robinson playing some excellent strokes in his 26 and the 35-year-old Yardy cussedly blunting the Middlesex attack in what, having announced he will retire at the end of the season, could be his last appearance at Lord’s.

“It was the old ‘over my dead body Yards’!” said Sussex head coach Mark Robinson. “He played very well and it will be really special for him to make runs here if we go on to win the game.

“Our first innings lead is a good one, but this is not an easy surface and it’s difficult to know what kind of total will be gettable batting last. When Matt Machan and Luke Wells were batting so well earlier in the day it looked like we would get at least a hundred-run lead.”

As it was, Sussex had to settle for a halfway advantage of 66 after Robinson was leg-before to Roland-Jones, who finished with 3 for 88, and James Harris almost immediately struck twice in three balls to bowl Yardy off an inside edge as he shaped to force away square on the offside and shatter last man Chris Liddle’s stumps with one that seemed to stay low.

In between, to Sussex’s relief, at least Liddle managed to carve Harris away over gully for the boundary which raised Sussex’s 300 and earned them a deserved third batting point.

Although Machan clearly played the innings of the day with some sparkling strokes and a fluency at the crease which no one else could match, Wells also included twelve fours in his 133-ball effort while Yardy struck eight fours from the 148 balls he faced. Their contributions, moreover, were no less valuable to the Sussex cause.


Day Two - Tea Report

Middlesex 1st inns: 234

Sussex 1st inns: 250-6

Ravi Patel spearheaded a dramatic Middlesex fight-back on the second afternoon of their LV= County Championship Division One match against Sussex at Lord’s.

Left-arm spinner Patel, who turned 24 earlier in the week, took 4 for 42 in a 17-over spell as Sussex slipped from 155 for one to 250 for six by tea in reply to Middlesex’s first innings of 234.

Matt Machan, who hit two sixes and nine fours in a fine 81 from 107 balls, became Patel’s first victim just before lunch when, with his ninth ball, he produced a beauty to bowl the left-hander through the gate.

And Middlesex were perhaps left wondering why they had not introduced Patel until 150 runs were on the board when, after lunch, he added the scalps of Luke Wells, Chris Nash and Ben Brown in a long spell from the Pavilion End.

Wells, who had added 134 in 34 overs with Machan for Sussex’s second wicket, fell for 61 in the first over after lunch when he edged Patel to James Franklin at slip. The opener had hit 12 fours in an excellent 128-ball innings.

But Sussex’s middle order could not add to Machan and Wells’s hard work, after they had dominated a morning session which had begun at 33 for one.

Nash, on 22, skied to mid on where Toby Roland-Jones held a well-judged catch as he ran back towards the boundary, and Luke Wright was then bowled for 1 aiming to pull a ball from Tim Murtagh which skidded on.

Brown had scored just 4 when he lifted a drive at Patel and was caught low down by a diving Ollie Rayner at extra cover.

Mike Yardy, however, had made it to a gritty 51 not out by tea, and with Ashar Zaidi on 15 the seventh wicket pair had pushed Sussex 16 runs in front.


Day Two - Lunch Report

Middlesex 1st inns: 234

Sussex 1st inns: 160-2 

Matt Machan and Luke Wells added 134 for the second wicket to put Sussex on top in the LV= County Championship Division One match against Middlesex at Lord’s.

At lunch on day two, Machan’s 81 and opener Wells’ unbeaten 61 had taken Sussex to 160 for two in reply to Middlesex’s first innings 234.

In warm sunshine the two left handers batted with real purpose against seam and spin alike to take Sussex from their overnight 33 for one into a position from which they can take full control of the game.

Wells, who resumed on 17, was the more circumspect of the two and, indeed, was well beaten to his half-century by Machan, who was on just three overnight and got to his fifty from just 67 balls, with seven fours.

There were no fewer than eleven fours, however, in Wells’s fifty, even though it took him 109 balls to reach the landmark.

Machan had gone to 81, with two sixes and nine fours, when he was beaten a bowled by a fine ball from left-arm spinner Ravi Patel, finally brought into the Middlesex attack when Sussex’s total had reached 150.

Wells remained secure until the interval with Chris Nash, the new batsman, having the last word on a superb session for Sussex by cutting Toby Roland-Jones for four from the final ball before lunch.



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