Joe Denly’s ton gives Middlesex the advantage over Worcestershire
21:25 05 May 2012
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Middlesex (327-7d) lead Worcestershire (45-2) by 282
Middlesex batsman Joe Denly scored his maiden hundred for the county to give them the advantage against Worcestershire at Lord’s going into the final day.
Denly, a winter signing from Kent, made an unbeaten 134 off 197 balls which allowed Middlesex to declare on 327 for seven, leaving Worcestershire a potential 29 overs to negotiate before the close of play.
But they missed the chance of an early Andrew Strauss dropped Michael Klinger at slip before he had scored, but both Daryl Mitchell and Klinger were dismissed before bad light brought an early close with Worcestershire on 45 for two - 132 runs away from the follow on target.
Denly, unbeaten on 34 as Middlesex began the day on 148 for two, dispatched Alan Richardson’s first two balls for crisp boundaries, but both Denly and his third-wicket partner, Chris Rogers, struggled subsequently to keep out the impressive Richardson.
Rogers survived a confident leg-before shout, but fell soon afterwards to left-armer David Lucas, wicketkeeper Ben Scott claiming a catch low to his left.
Richardson was rewarded with two wickets in successive balls. First Dawid Malan sliced to slip, where Vikram Solanki took the catch, then Neil Dexter shouldered arms and had his off stump plucked out.
Denly, having worked Lucas elegantly through midwicket, reached fifty off 94 balls with his ninth boundary, an off-driven four.
Rain and bad light allowed only 40 overs on the first two days, and light rain set in again 45 minutes before the scheduled lunch to send the players off again.
The action resumed at 2.45pm, John Simpson soon edging Richardson to Scott. Denly and Gareth Berg did their best to make up for lost time in an enterprising seventh-wicket stand of 88 in 21 overs.
Denly, who continued to mix moments of fortune with high-class attacking shots, reached an 153-ball hundred with two on-driven fours in three balls from the wayward Richard Jones. Berg became the deserving Richardson’s fifth victim against his former team-mates.
Middlesex’s declaration followed soon afterwards, Denly remaining unbeaten after pulling Richardson for six to complement his 19 boundaries. Richardson finished with figures of five for 89.
Murtagh, the unlucky bowler when Strauss spared Klinger, dismissed Mitchell in the 14th over when the Worcestershire captain clipped him tamely to Neil Dexter at midwicket.
Six runs later Toby Roland-Jones found extra lift to take the shoulder of Klinger’s bat, the ball looping into the gully for Sam Robson to pouch the simplest of catches.
The players went off for bad light before new man Moeen Ali could even face a ball.