The dark horses of Somerset?

One of the challenges at any cricket ground is warmth and shelter when the elements are less than kind. And for all its glory and tradition, Lord’s is no different.

And so it is today – a cool stiff breeze from the Nursery End under cloudy skies means that anywhere at the Pavilion End is definitely not sub-tropical! There’s only so much cold weather one can endure; so I need to move at lunchtime!

On the field, there’s a scurrying around for bonus points before the overs limit is breached – Middlesex take the maximum three for bowling with a few overs to spare whilst Somerset reach their fourth batting point with 4 balls to spare.

Leach succumbed

Starting today at 329/6, they eventually fold for 404 giving Middle’s openers 45 minutes or so to negotiate before lunch. The Somerset tail wagged – as did Kent’s yesterday – and the bowling it has to be said was poor. On the plus side, this pitch is almost white with a tinge of green at ground level hinting that batting should be relatively easy.

But not before he’d upped the rate!
Not always comfortable!
Siddle joins in the fun!

Somerset showed the way but Middlesex lost two in two – Stoneman and Eskinazi – to Henry and lunch at 23/2…far from comfortable. What was mystifying was that the non-striker (Robson) had a drink/towelling when Stoneman fell and immediately again the next ball after Eskinazi succumbed. Why?

Within 45 minutes of the resumption it’s the Simpson-Higgins show for Middlesex! Another collapse to 70/5 just underlined the lack of confidence the bats have this season after the Audi in the first match.

Robson found things challenging at times

On the other hand, Somerset are not a team to be taken lightly. If the batting works, then the opposition have Overton, Henry, Gregory, Siddle and Leach to contend with – and we haven’t seen the last two yet! I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the running come the end of the season. Their current form suggests not but who knows?

Matt Henry ends with 5/45

Meanwhile Middlesex will welcome the hiatus and the return of the trash/bash next week as a time to recoup.

Tea arrives with Middlesex 163/7 (a major improvement from 119/7) with Simpson 55no and TRJ 30no keeping things on the straight and narrow. There’s still a strong possibility of Middlesex batting again this evening and they’re still over 200 behind.

Leach looked good taking 2 for next to nothing in his few overs but it has to be said one was a gift – Hollman reverse swept straight into Kohler-Cadmore at slip. Call me old fashioned but when this doesn’t work it looks awful! But it’s been around for close on 40 years so I need to ‘get with it’!

TRJ went to a silly stroke forcing the pace and Bamber & Murtagh didn’t last long. Simpson 57no and all out for 175 – 229 behind!

And so it came to pass; Middle’s second innings started at 5.10pm just five hours (including lunch and tea) after they started their first.

The day ends with the Middle on 81/1 – still 148 adrift. I can see Somerset having to bat again (surely Middlesex can’t keep on being this poor?) but winning nonetheless.

Dark horses? Outside of the ‘golden triumvirate’ of Surrey, Essex & Hampshire, Somerset are probably a good bet for being there or thereabouts come September but then…it’s cricket and we all know how that can turn out!

And a bit of trick photography for a change…

Heart shaped media centre?
Or the media centre as a tear drop…?

@cricket51days

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