Lancashire and Middlesex pile on the runs at Lord's
Alviro Petersen completed an excellent 191 to underpin Lancashire’s 513 all out on day two at Lord’s today, but Middlesex’s batsmen responded strongly.
The Specsavers County Championship leaders posted their highest score since last July when they hit a mammoth 698-5 declared against Glamorgan at Colwyn Bay.
In that game, Petersen posted his career best 286.
Here, he was backed up Haseeb Hameed’s 89, an innings completed yesterday, and Liam Livingstone’s inventive and powerful 58 today. Captain Steven Croft also contributed 46.
Petersen and Livingstone shared 103 for the sixth wicket either side of lunch before Middlesex later replied with 146-1 from 44 overs, including 71 not out from opener Nick Gubbins.
This is not the ideal pitch for bowling. Middlesex’s bowlers struggled for the majority, and Lancashire will have to bowl extremely well to take the 19 more wickets they require.
Despite Lancashire’s dominance, Middlesex did show that wickets can fall quickly, however, by taking the visitors’ last five for 42 during the afternoon, although they were aided by the search for quick runs.
“We would have minded them being two, three or four down this evening so we can make tomorrow’s work a bit lighter,” said Croft.
“But we’re still in high spirits. It’s been a good day, and hopefully there might be assistance in the morning from overhead and with a little bit of seam.
“It’s well known that if there’s a bit above you, it does a bit at Lord’s. And we’ve got the right bowlers to extract that. If we get a couple of early wickets, it will set us up nicely for the rest of the day.
“If we do get a couple of wickets, we can keep the slips in and attack for a longer period of time.”
Petersen began the day on 105 not out and reached 150 off 241 balls before lunch, including eight fours and a six.
He later pulled Toby Roland-Jones in front of square for a second six, but he fell caught and bowled with the next ball as Lancashire fell to 477-7 in the 141st.
Having hit two sixes and 10 fours in 285 balls, he is now the third leading run-scorer in Division One 684 - behind only James Hildreth and Keaton Jennings.
In the previous over, Roland-Jones, Middlesex’s best bowler, had Livingstone well caught by James Fuller running back from mid-off.
Livingstone had reached 50 off 54 balls with nine fours.
Jordan Clark was trapped lbw by Roland-Jones with one that kept low, and Lancashire will hope uneven bounce becomes more obvious as the game progresses.
Neil Wagner and Kyle Jarvis were then both caught in the deep off Ollie Rayner’s off-spin. He finished with 4-120 from 35.5 overs to go with 4-122 from 31 for Roland-Jones.
Before lunch, Croft had fallen caught behind trying to reverse sweep Rayner’s first ball of the morning and Karl Brown was superbly caught by Fuller at square-leg sweeping.
Lancashire claimed three batting bonus points.
Middlesex reached 50-0 in the 19th over of their reply, which was largely untroubled, although Jarvis and Wagner bowled tidy new ball spells.
Matt Parkinson then made the breakthrough in the 22nd over when he had Sam Robson caught at slip by Livingstone, leaving the score at 59-1.
Unfortunately, that was Lancashire’s only breakthrough.
Left-handed Gubbins brought up his fifty off 95 balls and went on to share an unbroken second-wicket stand of 87 inside 23 overs with Stevie Eskinazi.
The latter will begin tomorrow’s third day on 43 not out in only his second first-class fixture.
“The more the game goes on, Parky will come into it more,” added Croft. “We saw quite a bit of spin early on.
“There’s not a great deal of pace in it, but it has done a bit when it’s cloudy and with the newer ball.
“We don’t want to let it fizzle out. There’s not many times you can put 500 on the board, so we want to make the most of it.
“It’s going to be tough, there’s no doubt about that. But there’s a massive carrot for us to win a game at Lord’s.