Udal gamble pays off for Middlesex

Lv County Championship

Dawid Malan

Dawid Malan helped Middlesex past the follow-on mark with 88 before Shaun Udal's surprising early declaration

Shaun Udal’s imaginative declaration at Lord’s breathed much-needed new life into a high-scoring match, and his reward was a Glamorgan wobble late on day three to set up what could be an intriguing finale.

Middlesex captain Udal closed his side’s first innings on 414 for eight as the game seemed to be meandering towards a draw, and despite being 91 runs adrift of Glamorgan, he then succeeded in putting the visitors under real pressure in the remaining 40 overs.

Glamorgan finally made it to the close on 94 for four, an overall lead of 185, but it could easily have been worse.

Mike Powell, on 20, was dropped by 20-year-old substitute fielder Adam London at cover off Danny Evans and, although he then fell lbw 15 runs later to the persevering Alan Richardson, nightwatchman Adam Shantry was immediately reprieved when he edged his first ball into the slips.

Udal’s frustration at those misses will be offset considerably, however, by the spirit his side showed.

Earlier, when Phillip Hughes fell with just 18 runs added to his overnight century and Neil Dexter edged a mis-hook to slip to depart for 72, Middlesex looked as if they might even be forced to follow-on as Garnett Kruger bowled Glamorgan into the ascendancy.

Dawid Malan was equal to the situation, though, and also received some stubborn lower-order support as he compiled a fluent 88 from 114 balls, with 12 fours, despite suffering from a hamstring strain which later prevented him from fielding.

Kruger’s four wickets for 35 runs in two rapid spells earlier on day three was evidence that there was still something in a placid pitch for bowlers who bent their backs, and Tim Murtagh’s eight-over new-ball spell of two for 19 began to vindicate Udal’s declaration.

Further wickets for Gareth Berg and Richardson opened up the match still further, although a draw is still the most likely outcome.

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