Shah set to sign off in style

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Owais Shah

Owais Shah's unbeaten 70 helped Middlesex move to within 69 runs of Worcestershire's 313 on the second day at Lord's

Owais Shah closed in on a farewell century at Lord’s in his final game for Middlesex despite bad weather cutting short the second day of the LV= County Championship match against Worcestershire.

Shah was 70 not out when torrential rain ended play for the day at 4pm, having guided Middlesex to 244 for five in reply to Worcestershire’s 313. Bad light had delayed the start until 10.55am.

In between, however, the skies did brighten considerably and Shah took the attack to Worcestershire once Scott Newman had fallen for an aggressive 78 from 91 balls.

Shah featured in stands of 76 with Newman, 67 with Dan Housego and 46 - unbroken - with captain Neil Dexter, who is 26 not out.

Nightwatchman Steve Finn, who faced the one over possible before stumps yesterday, was run out early on when Newman called him for an unnecessarily sharp single.

John Simpson did not last long either, clipping Jack Shantry’s left-arm swing to Moeen Ali at a deep leg gully.

Newman was soon at his most fluent, however, pulling and cutting Gareth Andrew for successive fours as he reached a 64-ball half-century just before lunch.

For 10 overs after the interval, both Newman and Shah were irresistible. Shah on-drove James Cameron’s medium-pace with huge authority for four, while Newman drove Alan Richardson for a straight four and, in the same over, punched him effortlessly off the back foot through cover.

Inexplicably, though, the left-handed opener, having hit 13 fours, swung Cameron straight to Shakib Al Hasan at deep square-leg to leave Middlesex 114 for three.

Dawid Malan, needing 10 for 1,000th first-class runs this season, perished for nine when he tried to flick Shakib’s left-arm spin to leg and was adjudged caught off his glove as the ball lobbed up to wicketkeeper Ben Cox.

Housego, a 21-year-old batsman, played well in Shah’s company for 32 until he went down the pitch to Moeen and flipped a simple catch to Vikram Solanki at backward short-leg when the bowler saw him coming and fired it wide of his pads.

Dexter was soon into his stride and had hit five fours when the rain came, one of them a fortuitous inside edge past Cox off an unlucky Cameron.

Shah, meanwhile, lifted Shakib straight for six and looked in determined mood as he sought a 50th century for Middlesex in all cricket in what is his 200th first-class appearance for the club he first represented as a 16-year-old in 1995. He has faced 153 balls, hitting seven fours and a six.

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