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Eoin Morgan admits he must keep accumulating runs for Middlesex if he is to force his way back into the England Test team.

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The left-hander notched his first Middlesex half-century in almost two years as the Lord’s side maintained control on the third day of their County Championship clash with Sussex.

But Morgan knows he needs an extended run of form with the bat in county cricket if he is to regain the England place he lost after the 3-0 whitewash against Pakistan last winter.

“It’s good to be back playing after two months when I didn’t have a competitive game,” Morgan told london24.com. “I’m pretty excited about making sure I get some runs now for Middlesex.

“Short-term, it’s about getting runs under my belt and showing what I can bring to the table. Obviously I want to be involved in the one-day international series coming up and long-term get back into the Test side. “But I know I’ve got to perform and the only way I’ll get back in with England is by weight of runs.

“A few years ago, I was playing for Middlesex and within six months I was involved in all forms of international cricket, so that shows how quickly things can turn around.”

The 25-year-old – whose most recent Middlesex half-century also came against Sussex, in July 2010 – missed out on three figures on Friday when he was caught behind for 71 off Steve Magoffin.

Stand-in skipper Chris Rogers, who had been the other not-out batsman overnight, fell lbw to Luke Wright just two runs short of his century, but Middlesex built a healthy first innings lead of 208.

John Simpson (34) and Gareth Berg (45) made valuable contributions before Ollie Rayner and Toby Roland-Jones embarked on an entertaining ninth-wicket partnership of 76.

Rayner reached 69 before he eventually holed out to Wright at long-on, but Roland-Jones (52) swung Michael Yardy for six to post his maiden half-century and was out in the next over as Middlesex were dismissed for 491.

Steven Finn made the breakthrough in Sussex’s second innings when former Middlesex batsman Ed Joyce (8) fell to an excellent catch by Berg at third slip.

The visitors had progressed to 34-1 – still trailing by 174 – before bad light halted play and Middlesex will go into the final day as favourites for victory, provided the weather holds.

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