DAY TWO - CLOSE OF PLAY
MIDDLESEX 270 a/o
Tim Bresnan led a gutsy Yorkshire fightback with an unbeaten 72 as the champions fought hard to hang on to their title on an absorbing second day against Division One leaders Middlesex at Lord’s.
Team-mate Jack Brooks had earlier taken a career-best 6 for 65 as Middlesex were dismissed for 270. Toby Roland-Jones spearheaded the riposte by removing three of Yorkshire’s top four for ducks before Bresnan, from No.5 in the order, led the fightback. He shared a stand of 116 in 35 overs with Andy Hodd (64) before two wickets in the last hour tilted the balance back Middlesex’s way as Yorkshire trailing by 35 on 235 for 6, with Bresnan 72 not out from 178 balls with seven fours.
It completed an excellent day for the former England player who had earlier finished with 3 for 49. Yorkshire need to get 350 in the first innings and then win to claim their third successive Championship but that looks unlikely on a pitch offering assistance to the seamers and with a new ball due after 11 overs in the morning. But while Bresnan is there they have hope. The 31-year-old passed 50 for the 30th time in his first-class career and fifth this season although it could be that Roland-Jones’ new ball burst proves ultimately decisive as Middlesex press for their first Championship since 1993.
Ten of the 11 wickets that fell came from bowlers operating at the Pavilion End and Roland-Jones picked up 3 for 7 in a high-class eight-over new ball spell. A yorker proved too good for Alex Lees while Gary Ballance and Andrew Gale, to his second ball, were caught at second slip by deliveries angled across them. At the other end Adam Lyth played impressively, scoring 43 of Yorkshire’s first 53 runs before he was unluckily bowled by a delivery from Steve Finn which rolled off his bat onto the stumps. Middlesex were rampant but Bresnan found a reliable ally in Hodd as Yorkshire launched another of the middle-order rallies that have been a feature of their title defence.
As the ball got softer batting became easier, although Hodd should have been dismissed on 22 when Finn found his edge but Nick Compton grassed a straightforward catch at third slip. Hodd was first to his half-century and had moved onto 64 when Roland-Jones returned and trapped him leg before as he shaped to play the ball to leg. It was a big blow to Yorkshire who then lost David Willey (22) to Tim Murtagh before Azeem Rafiq and Bresnan saw their side through to stumps. Earlier, Yorkshire’s seamers had fought back superbly, led by Brooks who took the last three wickets to fall as Middlesex added just 62 runs in the session before they were dismissed five minutes before lunch. He dismissed Ollie Rayner, Finn and Murtagh after Bresnan had claimed the key wickets of Nick Gubbins and James Franklin. Gubbins added just five runs to his overnight 120 before driving loosely to second slip having put on 73 for the sixth wicket with his captain. Bresnan also picked up Franklin for 48 before Brooks returned to the attack to sweep away the tail and take his season’s tally to 59 with power to add on Thursday when a fascinating game may take decisive shape.
YORKSHIRE 1ST INNS: 127 for 4
MIDDLESEX 1ST INNS: 270 All Out
Tim Bresnan and Andrew Hodd rallied Yorkshire with an unbroken stand of 74 after Toby Roland-Jones had wrecked their top order and strengthened Middlesex’s bid for a first County Championship title since 1993.
Roland-Jones removed Alex Lees, Gary Ballance and skipper Andrew Gale, all for ducks, in a superb new-ball spell from the Pavilion End that took him to 50 Championship wickets for the season.
Lees was yorked and the other two caught at second slip. Adam Lyth made 43 of the first 53 runs scored before he played on to Steven Finn to leave Yorkshire tottering on 53 for 4, having earlier dismissed Middlesex for 270.
Hodd had an escape on 22 when he was badly missed at third slip by Nick Compton off Finn and made the most of his reprieve to reach 45 at tea with Bresnan on 34 in a score of 127 for 4.
Earlier, Jack Brooks had finished with career-best figures of 6 for 65 as Middlesex, 208 for 5 overnight, were bowled out for 270 just before lunch. Nick Gubbins top scored with 125.
DAY TWO - LUNCH
MIDDLESEX 1ST INNS: 270 All Out
Jack Brooks finished with 6 for 65 as Yorkshire enjoyed a superb morning against Middlesex on the second day at Lord’s.
The champions took the remaining five wickets for the addition of just 62 runs as Middlesex were dismissed for 270 ten minutes before lunch on the second day.
They also claimed maximum bowling points and restricted the leaders to two batting points in the battle for the title. Brooks helped himself to the last three wickets in the space of 15 balls with Toby Roland-Jones (6), Tim Murtagh (0) and Steven Finn (6) his victims in an excellent spell from the pavilion end.
With the ball swinging throughout the morning, Yorkshire’s attack was at its best. Tim Bresnan claimed the key wicket of opener Nick Gubbins, who added just five run to his overnight 120 before a rare false shot, a loose drive at Tim Bresnan, ended an innings which spanned 276 balls and included 15 fours and a six.
That ended a stand of 73 with skipper James Franklin who was picked up by Bresnan for 48 before Middlesex’s tail folded, the last four wickets adding just 26 runs.