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Compton takes sting out of Middlesex

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A bee inadvertently helped Somerset's cause as Nick Compton battled to hold former county Middlesex at bay in their crucial LV= County Championship Division One match at Uxbridge.

Compton had already locked horns with Steven Finn when the big fast bowler was threatening to make short work of the Somerset batting.

Finn, who looked threatening throughout, had Chris Jones taken at first slip, flashing, and Marcus Trescothick caught behind, defending, in successive overs.

And when Tim Murtagh, who earlier saw Trescothick dropped at second slip off his bowling, had Alviro Petersen caught behind Somerset were reeling at 28 for three in reply to Middlesex's 338 - a total built around Dawid Malan's 124.

It was then that the bee lent a hand. It stung Eoin Morgan, who had held the hard, high catch to dismiss Jones, and while he was off the field for treatment Paul Stirling took over at first slip and promptly dropped Compton, then on 16, off Neil Dexter.

The miss was to prove costly. Compton dug in as is his wont and an admirably positive James Hildreth gave Somerset some much-needed momentum in a fourth-wicket partnership of 75 in 23 overs.

Hildreth made 53 of the runs off 65 balls with eight fours and by the time he was bowled trying to pull Dexter, Compton was entrenched.

Alex Barrow, deputising for Craig Kieswetter who is missing the match because of a family bereavement, offered excellent support in an unbroken stand of 50 and when bad light ended play Somerset were 53 for four - 185 behind - with Compton on 58.

Stirling said: "Eoin Morgan getting stung by the bee was unfortunate - unfortunate for me, anyway. Nick Compton is the big wicket now, especially after I dropped him at slip. We know that he can go on and score big runs so hopefully we can get him early tomorrow."

Earlier, Malan, 90 not out when Middlesex resumed at 211 for four after the rain-shortened first day, had completed his second century in successive championship matches with a sumptuous cover drive, the most handsome stroke in his repertoire, off Craig Overton.

It brought him his 20th four and he had struck four more boundaries before he pushed forward to Alfonso Thomas, armed with the second new ball, and was caught behind by a diving Barrow.

John Simpson was caught at second slip off Overton for a duck in the fifth over of the day but Stirling joined Malan in a sixth-wicket partnership of 59 and then put on another 40 with Toby Roland-Jones.

Stirling had made 56 off 101 balls when he played on to Overton on the stroke of lunch and soon afterwards Middlesex had lost their last three wickets for 19 runs, two of them to the hard-working Overton who finished with 4-84.

Overton said: "It was satisfying to get those four wickets. I didn't really hit my straps yesterday but today I came back and felt I bowled all right so it was good to get some reward."

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