Bailey stars as Lancashire enjoy best of Day 2 at Lord's
There could be a tense finish to the Specsavers County Championship match between Middlesex and Lancashire at Lord’s.
Lancashire, requiring 221 to win, are 46 for one at the end of the second day, requiring another 175 to win. Middlesex had the edge – a thin edge - when Lancashire started to bat again on a bowler-friendly surface. But at stumps on Wednesday both sides were convinced they could win.
Middlesex are desperate for a victory, while Lancashire want a strong finish after missing out on the championship.
To make life more difficult for Middlesex they will be without their England fast bowler Toby Roland-Jones for the rest of the match. Roland-Jones had a scan on his stiff back on Wednesday but it proved inconclusive. He will have further tests on Thursday. He batted on the second day, but was unable to bowl.
Lancashire resumed on 133 for five on the second morning and were bowled out for 165, with Tim Murtagh claiming four for 49. That gave Middlesex a first innings advantage of 68, a meaningful lead in a low-scoring match.
When Middlesex batted again they soon lost Nick Compton, who was caught behind for nine. Then Stevie Eskinazi was bowled out by Tom Bailey and they looked distinctly wobbly at 16 for two, just 84 runs ahead.
It didn’t get any easier for the batsmen. Top scorer Sam Robson (58) and Dawid Malan established a partnership but then the players took an early tea because of bad light, with the score on 54 for two. And with the first delivery after the break Ryan McLaren had Malan lbw for 18.
Acting captain Adam Voges had made just five when he got a thick edge to one from Jordan Clark and the ball just carried to Ryan McLaren took a tumbling catch in the gully. That made it 79 for four.
Robson completed a dogged fifty from 87 balls, with six fours. But then he pulled Bailey to deep backward square-leg where Kyle Jarvis pulled off a marvellous two-handed catch, diving to his right.
Jarvis then pulled off another excellent catch, this time low down at extra-cover, to send back John Simpson for a gutsy 33; 130 for six. And without addition James Harris was seventh out in the next over, lbw to Jarvis.
Roland-Jones was unable to reprise his first innings heroics and Middlesex were all out for 152, with Bailey taking five for 44, to set up a classic finish.