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Matt Diner, at Lord’s
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
County Championship Division One: Day two- Somerset 173 all out Middlesex 321-2 lead by 148
As days of cricket go there could be too many more one-sided than this. Middlesex dominated from the first ball to the last at Lord’s and in doing so look set to keep the pressure on those above them in the Division One table.
A wonderfully crafted 173 from captain Chris Rogers and an unbeaten from Joe Denly means the hosts will head into day three 148 runs ahead of their opponents with eight first innings wickets still in hand.
Rogers led from the front. The Australian was in imperious form and carried on his excellent form from last week’s win over Sussex as he smashed 23 fours and three sixes, scoring at 90 per cent strike rate as he and Denly put on 245 for the second wicket.
In stark contrast Somerset collapsed from 130-4 to 173 all out in what was a disastrous spell for the visitors, as they lost five wickets in just 22 deliveries at the start of the day.
With bat and ball they failed to make their mark, as Middlesex completely dominated day two from the outset.
The hosts started as they meant to carry on as Gareth Berg had Craig Kieswetter caught by John Simpson with the first ball of the day, before Tim Murtagh cleaned up fellow England hopeful Joss Buttler for a duck.
Neither will be particularly proud of their dismissals, Kieswetter wafting away from his body, while Buttler played onto his stumps.
The imposing Craig Overton gloved a slow bouncer to Simpson behind, while Gareth Berg got one to nip back in at Alfonso Thomas, clattering into the skipper’s stumps.
Losing four wickets in 10 balls did little to deter the naturally assertive Peter Trego as the all rounder went onto the attack.
After a rain delay which caused an early lunch he launched into Berg and hit the South African for consecutive boundaries before he holed out to Eoin Morgan at deep square leg for 38 off Toby Roland-Jones.
There was an early blemish to the Middlesex innings as the impressive Thomas trapped Sam Robson lbw for nine, but after ball dominated bat earlier in the day, it was time for those who hold the willow to take charge.
Rogers took a liking to the wayward bowling of Geemal Hussain, smacking him through the offside for the first boundary after five overs before fining the fence twice more his following over.
Rogers moved to 37 after smashing Trego through the off side while partner Denly brought up the Middlesex 50 with his first boundary- a typically impressive off drive.
His skipper was the main run getter and brought up his 50 by guiding a full Hussain delivery through the slips for four.
Two square drives off the same bowler pushed the hosts to three figures, of which Rogers scored 78.
Denly brought up the hundred partnership with a well-timed leg glance for four, as the hosts closed in on the visitor’s total.
Rogers was closing in on his own landmark and drove through the covers in the 34th over off Thomas to move into the nineties.
After he was dismissed two short of a ton against Sussex last week, the Australian registered his second three figure score of the campaign after an inside edge off George Dockrell meant he could run through for a single.
The run took Middlesex into the lead and the hosts went from strength to strength as each batsman hit boundaries at regular intervals.
Successive sixes off Arul Suppiah long hops from Rogers in the 52nd over summed up the hosts dominance.
Good fielding from Overton gave the youngster the opportunity to run out a stranded Denly, but with all three stumps on show the teenager missed and let the former Kent man of the hook.
Rogers brought up the 200 partnership with a towering six over deep mid wicket off Trego.
After continuing to dispatch the opposition to all parts Rogers finally fell, slogging Trego to Suppiah at deep mid wicket.
There was still time for Denly to record his second ton since arriving from Kent during the summer, timing one through the covers to bring up three figures in some style.
Middlesex have never won in a match when Rogers has hit a ton, but after a performance like today, it is hard not to see that particular run coming to an end.