Strauss hundred set to prove in vain
Centuries from Andrew Strauss and Chris Rogers held up Glamorgan as Middlesex mounted a determined bid to save their LV= County Championship Division Two match at Lord’s.
England Test captain Strauss hit a fluent 103 but was then run out in a mix-up with Rogers, but the Australian left-hander did his best to make amends by reaching a fighting 125 in over five hours at the crease.
After Rogers was dismissed shortly before the close of the third day, however, Glamorgan became overwhelming favourites to win the game. Middlesex, on 293 for six, still trail by 79 runs overall.
Rogers had been joined after tea by Jamie Dalrymple, the former Glamorgan captain, in a fifth wicket stand of 60, but both fell in the last half-hour to the impressive James Harris.
Glamorgan, resuming on 517 for eight, added just five more runs on day three but their 522 all out earned them a first innings lead of 372 and was also the county’s highest first-class total at Lord’s.
Harris then sent back Scott Newman in just his second over with the new ball, the left-hander edging a magnificent delivery which left him up the Lord’s slope, took the edge and was well held at second slip by Michael Powell.
Strauss and Rogers then frustrated Glamorgan for three hours in a second-wicket partnership worth 173 in 46 overs, although Rogers was dropped at third slip by Will Bragg off Graham Wagg when he had made 23.
Strauss, on 30, survived a sharp chance to Gareth Rees at short-leg when he mis-hit an attempted pull at Will Owen and saw the fielder fail to hold the ball at the second attempt as he dived forward to try to grab the rebound.
Rogers might also have been caught by Wagg at short midwicket off slow left-armer Dean Cosker, but it would have been a miraculous catch by the fielder who flung himself to his right to get a hand to a firm drive that was travelling just inches off the turf.
Otherwise, both batsmen looked fully in command and it came as a major surprise when, having completed his century from 151 balls and with 13 fours, Strauss was run out by Wagg’s throw from midwicket when he set off for a short single but was sent back by Rogers, who had played the stroke.
Cosker, who bowled with great control throughout lengthy spells from the Nursery End, then had Dawid Malan caught at the wicket for just five to leave Middlesex in deep trouble.
Glamorgan sniffed victory even more confidently when Neil Dexter edged a loose drive at Owen and was also caught by Mark Wallace behind the stumps, but then Rogers and Dalrymple came together to boost Middlesex’s hopes of survival.
Rogers brought up his hundred in 175 balls, and greeted the appearance of the second new ball by taking consecutive fours off Harris.
After a further 101 minutes of resistance in the company of Dalrymple, however, he fell to Harris during an extraordinary over from the 21-year-old paceman.
First, Rogers edged Harris to first slip where Alviro Petersen parried the ball up. Wallace then fumbled the ball before a diving Powell, at second slip, failed to hold on to the rebound.
Two balls later, another Rogers edge flew to third slip, where Cosker parried it for a jubilant Petersen to complete the catch at first slip.
Dalrymple’s battling 28 was then ended by Harris, who trapped his former skipper lbw, and Glamorgan will expect to wrap up a deserved win early on the final day.