Four ducks 🦆 in a row? That’s rare!

Day two dawns frosty and sunny so today will involve more sun chasing but overall there’s a feeling of spring in the air and a full days play in prospect.

Don’t fret, dear reader, the ducks will be along shortly! Let’s not get too excited quite yet!

Lawrence goes to his hundred but fails to press on as he goes lbw playing a shot you wouldn’t normally play. Critchley spends two and a bit hours accumulating 28 – most of which came in the last 20 minutes before lunch as the new ball was taken.

This really turned the innings inside out with TR-J taking two in two (5 overall so far) and Essex lunch on 239/7. The Middlesex bowling is much of a muchness and the pitch not as green as first thought; Essex have been snicking and nudging all morning so I suppose it’s a fair situation as we head into the afternoon session. But let’s see!

Within 30 minutes Essex succumb to 266ao, Critchley racing to his 50 before being last out to TR-J who takes 7-61 off 27.1 overs. Essex relied on three bats who made 208 between them – the rest hardly contributing anything.

The tenor of the match changed when the new ball was taken – both in terms of wickets falling but also the run rate, especially by Critchley. In essence, standard new ball stuff!

Critchley in good nick…
But the next has him in tangles!
Porter too!

But we don’t know how this pitch will play until we’ve seen both sides bat but the collapse with the new ball could augur well for the Essex quicks?

Well…that was something else! I’ve seen many a collapse here at Lord’s but this innings just didn’t get started. Robson first ball lbw (hmmm…umpires need practice to get up to full match fitness), and then a procession of ducks – 4 for 4 (all the runs were extras) became 20 for 5 in no time but Simpson and Higgins restored some order to 53/5 at tea.

Four ducks for the first four bats in an innings is very rare and something I’ve not seen before. I’m told the last time it happened in the Championship was 1975 – 48 years ago by London neighbours Surrey. But here’s todays proof!

The four in question – Robson (rough decision I reckon), Stoneman, Malan and Eskinazi – all looked at sea against some fine bowling and catching. I have no explanation other than brain freeze by Middlesex and ruthlessness by Essex!

Fine Essex bowling, every snick/nick taken, panic in the Middlesex brain and there we have it. Another 44 overs to go today – a very late finish in prospect (hopefully before the sun sets!) and talk of a follow on if Essex go well…but remember Wellington!

The theme of the match so far is ‘see off the new ball’ and take things from there. Could be interesting!

Too many Cooks don’t spoil this broth!
They all looked at sea to start with!

And so the evening session came to prove my point. Simpson and Higgins guided Middlesex to the 140s before Higgins fell for 70. A great knock in the circumstances! But the inevitable happened and just before the close Middlesex folded for 170ao.

In the circumstances a fine recovery after all the ducks 🦆 but the new ball tomorrow in the experienced hands of the Middlesex bowlers will be key…and if it’s cloudy as forecast? Who knows?

But I’ve seen something today I’ll probably not see again 🦆 🦆 🦆 🦆


And finally…according to Andrew Strauss no one watches county cricket! Perhaps he needs to look a bit closer!

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