Ton-up openers rescue Middlesex
Chris Rogers and Sam Robson shared an opening partnership of 259 - a Middlesex record against Surrey - to turn the tables on their London rivals after they had been forced to follow on 172 runs behind at Lord’s.
Rogers, the 35-year-old left-hander, hopes to return to the Australia side against England this summer after being included in their Ashes squad five years after he won his only cap against India at Perth.
Robson, 12 years his junior, will qualify for England by residence next year after representing Australia at Under-19 level.
Both completed their centuries off 185 balls, Rogers having hit nine fours and Robson 14. By the time the latter was caught behind attempting to hook a short ball from Zander de Bruyn, they had turned Middlesex’s deficit into a lead of 87 in the LV= County Championship Division One clash.
Robson had made 129 off 223 balls with 17 boundaries and, though Joe Denly was soon caught at second slip off Jade Dernbach, Rogers was still there at the close. He had scored 131 from 240 deliveries, including 10 fours, and will lead his side into the final day on 283 for two, 111 ahead with eight wickets in hand.
It was not what Surrey captain Graeme Smith had in mind when de Bruyn claimed Middlesex’s last man Corey Collymore leg-before in the third over and he sent them in again hoping they would bat as poorly as the previous day.
Neither morning cloud nor a shower which sent the players off for an early lunch gave Smith’s bowlers any assistance on the slow pitch.
They were so disciplined that they did not concede any extras until their 111th over of the match, when a de Bruyn delivery clipped Rogers’ pads and went for four leg byes, but there was little sign of a breakthrough.
Dernbach did go past Rogers’ outside edge in his opening spell and de Bruyn induced an nick which fell short of second slip, yet he was in no more discomfort until he had made 96. Falling on his backside avoiding a Dernbach bouncer did not stop Rogers stroking Tim Linley into the covers for his 59th first-class century, however.
Robson tucked Gareth Batty to midwicket to reach his sixth hundred in the next over and, soon afterwards, the duo went past Middlesex’s previous highest opening stand against Surrey – 232 by Pelham Warner and James Douglas at the Oval in 1907.