Rayner runs hot for Middlesex
Ollie Rayner enjoyed a tremendous day with bat and ball as Middlesex fought back against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge.
Rayner compiled his maiden LV= County Championship hundred and finished unbeaten on 143, having struck 19 fours and a six in his 255-ball innings, as Middlesex declared late on day three at 300 for nine in an effort to set up a result after securing their third batting point.
After Notts began their second innings 123 runs ahead, Rayner was called on to bowl the fourth over and struck twice before the close.
With Steven Finn also picking up a wicket, the visitors claimed three in as many overs and Notts closed on 22 for three, leading by 145, with an intriguing final day’s play ahead.
Middlesex resumed their first innings under pressure - at 51 for three - and that only increased when Joe Denly edged Andre Adams to first slip in the third over.
But nightwatchman Rayner and Dawid Malan dug in to post a fifth-wicket partnership of 119 in 41 overs either side of lunch, with the former driving attractively through the covers and mid-off.
The pair pushed Middlesex to within 92 of avoiding the follow-on before Malan was given lbw for 46 to a speared-in yorker from Harry Gurney which may have been missing leg stump.
Rayner, who moved to Lord’s from Sussex in the winter after a successful loan spell, had only one previous century to his name - scored on debut against Sri Lanka in 2006 - but showed little nerves as he approached the milestone and passed three figures with a straight-driven four off Paul Franks.
Neil Dexter chipped Graeme Swann to mid-on for 17 just before the new ball was taken, while John Simpson was beaten for pace by Gurney, after which Stuart Broad picked up his only wicket by bowling Gareth Berg.
Swann returned to oust Tim Murtagh just before the declaration, leaving Notts to face 10 overs in the evening.
Rayner then struck with his fifth ball, bowling Alex Hales through the gate after twice being hit to the ropes by the advancing batsman.
Two more wickets fell in the next 10 balls; Finn set up Neil Edwards with two fine deliveries before finding the outside edge for a simple catch to Andrew Strauss in the slips and Rayner sent nightwatchman Swann back to the pavilion when the right-hander pushed a defensive shot straight into the hands of Denly at silly-point.