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Eski/ Mala give Archer an 'Arrowing time

Back on form

By Darren Gosling
August 31 2018

Darren reports on a mainly good day for Middlesex with the odd blip. 

Arriving at a sunny Lords on day two with clear overhead skies, batting conditions couldn’t have been more different than they were on day one. I rather feared Sussex would push on from their overnight score of 120-6 to take a commanding first innings advantage. After all, since beating Northants in the first match of the season Middlesex have held a first innings lead in only one of the nine Championship matches played since. 

However, with only a further 10 runs added an early breakthrough from James Harris saw him clean bowl Jordan (8) from the Nursery End. Four overs later Harris completed the removal of the Sussex middle order by trapping skipper Brown (24) lbw to leave Sussex on 139-8, hopes of a slender first innings lead remained. Finn replaced Fuller at the Pavilion End and soon had Robinson (9) caught by Morgan at mid-off. Bamber replacing Harris soon removed Briggs (5) caught behind as Sussex just crept past Middlesex’s score to lead by 2 runs. 

Robson and Gubbins had a tricky 8 over spell to negotiate before lunch which they seemed to have dealt with before Archer made a complete mess of Gubbins’ (8) stumps just 3 balls from the lunch break to leave Middx 19-1. 

The afternoon session was only 4 overs old when Robson’s miserable run continued as he was trapped lbw for 15 by Robinson. With the score on 29-2, captain Dawid Malan then joined Eskinazi at the crease as both sought to improve on their first innings failures of 6 and 0 respectively. Eskinazi was by far the more fluent but with Mala digging in at the other end the pair slowly but surely began to turn the innings around for MIddlesex. 

The first 50 partnership of the match was soon followed by Eskinazi’s bringing up his 50 – taking consecutive boundaries off Archer. Sussex introduced spin in the form of Briggs four overs before tea in a desperate attempt to break the Esky/Mala partnership. However, it was Robinson who finally removed Esky for 60, Sussex appealing for a caught behind which was finally given - Esky not happy with the decision. Still, a near perfect session for Middx who added 106 runs for the loss of just two wickets to reach tea on 125-3 (lead of 123). 

The evening session saw Middlesex begin by losing their fourth wicket in the first over after tea. Morgan’s horrendous run continued as he was bowled by Jordan for 4, taking is tally to 21 from his last 6 innings. When Max Holden (4) departed having mis-timed an attempted hook to deep square leg, Middlesex at 152-5 were looking again to have a fragile lead with only 5 wickets remaining. 

However, not for the first time this season James Harris was in no mood to throw his second innings wicket away. In fact you have to go back almost four months to the reverse fixture at Hove at the beginning of May to find his last second innings dismissal. Batting for an over hour Harris helped to put on an unbroken partnership of 58 with Malan. Dawid himself, whilst not at his fluent best dug deep for over four hours, playing a captain’s innings to slowly edge his team into a winning position, finishing unbeaten on 69 (his 50 coming off 121 balls). 

Closing on 210-5 (a lead of 208) our hopes of victory could depend on Mala pushing on as I doubt Sussex will fancy too much more than 250. An intriguing day 3 awaits….

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Eski/ Mala give Archer an 'Arrowing time
Middlesex till we die (IP Logged)
31/08/2018 07:58
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