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Matt Diner, at Lord’s
Thursday, May 31, 2012
County Championship Division Two: Middlesex 229-3 Sussex 283 all out
Middlesex will head into day three looking to bat Sussex out of the game after an unbeaten 93 by captain Chris Rogers put his side in a commanding position at Lord’s.
The hosts dominated at the home of cricket and ended day two on 229-3, 54 runs behind of Sussex’s first innings total of 283.
Rogers and Joe Denly put on 145 for the second wicket with the Australian rarely troubled by the Sussex attack.
The 34-year-old did the basics well, defending the accurate deliveries and punishing the bad ones, while partner Denly was in a typically flowing mood, hitting nine boundaries in an aesthetically pleasing 67.
Sussex began day two 242-8 and although Steve Magoffin was dropped on 15 y John Simpson off the bowling of Steve Finn, the visitors had a relatively trouble-free opening half hour’s play.
James Anyon was the first to depart as he attempted to cut a ball too close to his body, with the ball clattering into his leg stump as Tim Murtagh picked up a well-deserved fifth wicket.
Monty Panesar weighed in with some lusty blows before steering a Gareth Berg delivery to Ollie Rayner at slip.
Buoyed by adding what could be a vital 41 runs for the last two wickets, the visitors made the early breakthrough as Sam Robson was caught plumb in front by Magoffin for a duck.
Denly started nervously and looked set to for an early exit after playing and missing seven times before the lunch break, while he was dropped twice at slip.
After scoring two, Denly edged behind off Anyon, but despite the ball going straight to Joe Gatting, the man at second slip could not hold.
The second was slightly tougher with Joyce unable to hang on to a low edge off the same bowler.
Post lunch Denly again played and missed but a beautiful cover drive off the last ball of the 10th seemed to stir the former Kent man into action.
He nudged the ball around for singles before he smashed three fours off Luke Wright in consecutive overs, with the last a wonderful back foot punch through the covers.
Not even the introduction of Monty Panesar could stop Denly and Rogers as the former reached his 50 with a typically powerful back foot shot through the covers.
The boundary also brought up the 100 partnership, which took just 157 balls.
It wasn’t long before the skipper reached a half century after a weak leg-side delivery from Naveed Arif was clipped to the boundary.
The partnership was ended by Panesar as Denly left a straight ball and was given out lbw.
Dawid Malan lasted just three balls as he fended a short-pitched Anyon delivery to Joyce at third slip to leave the hosts 152-3 just before tea.
The out of form Eoim Morgan entered the fray and aside from playing and missing a well directed Anyon delivery, the England batsman looked in good touch.
He cut Panesar to the gully boundary before hitting the first six of the match, dancing down the pitch to hit his international colleague over the deep mid-wicket boundary.
Morgan moved to 52 from 96 balls with a well-timed off-drive off Anyon, but it was Rogers’ day and the skipper will be confident of completing his second championship ton of the campaign tomorrow.