An unbeaten half-century from England hopeful Eoin Morgan put Middlesex firmly in charge on day two against Lancashire in LV= County Championship Division One.
Morgan finished on 76 not out at Lord's and did his chances of earning a place in Peter Moores' new-look England side no harm at all with an accomplished innings.
Morgan's knock, as well as an excellent 92 from Dawid Malan, helped Middlesex close on 275 for three – a lead of nine runs.
Lancashire had been bowled out for 266 on day one but the home side's reply got off to a shaky start.
In-form opener Chris Rogers was caught behind for one off Kyle Hogg, who was playing his first match of the season having missed the first four games through injury.
Rogers' fellow opener Sam Robson steadied matters alongside Malan, however, as the young opener continued his strong start to the campaign with 51.
Robson has now hit one century and four fifties this season and his superb form has put him firmly in contention for a place at the top of England's line-up.
The 24-year-old was eventually run out by some superb fielding by Luis Reece but not before Middlesex had reached 108 with Malan leading the charge.
The hosts' number three hit 17 fours and will have been disappointed not to have clinched his first century since 2012 after he was also run out by Ashwell Prince.
Lancashire worked hard in the field but, on a sunny day, it was a batsman's wicket and Middlesex continued to dominate.
Malan's dismissal shifted the responsibility to Morgan, who had made a positive and patient start, looking settled at the crease next to Neil Dexter.
Dexter played an assured innings just a day after taking career-best figures of 6-63, his 44 not out proving a good complement to his partner’s effort.
Morgan reached his second half-century of the season so far and will start the third day 24 short of his 100.
It was a tough day for the Lancashire attack, epitomised by skipper Glen Chapple bowling 21 overs and finishing with figures of 0-53.