Milestone eludes cautious Compton
Nick Compton fell one run short of a century as Somerset built a first-innings lead of 104 over Middlesex on day three of the LV= County Championship match at Taunton.
The 28-year-old former Middlesex batsman grafted for six-and-a-half hours to make his 99 off 312 balls in a total of 350 all out. Craig Kieswetter contributed 83 to a fourth-wicket stand of 152, while Corey Collymore was the most successful bowler with 3-66.
By the time rain and bad light ended play for the day at just before 5pm, Middlesex had reached 38 for one in their second innings, with Sam Robson unbeaten on 24.
Somerset began the day on 202 for three, with Compton on 58 and Kieswetter on 50. The pair were still together when Middlesex took the second new ball at 243 for three.
Kieswetter was the aggressor and had added 33 to his overnight score when edging Collymore into the slips, the ball just carrying to Dawid Malan, who took a good low catch.
Jos Buttler played a couple of fluent shots, but had made only 14 when he was bowled by a Tim Murtagh ball that looked to keep slightly low.
It was 281 for five at lunch, with the obdurate Compton adding only 23 to his score in the session. He should have been run out straight after the interval when Neil Dexter missed all three stumps from mid-off as the batsman called for an ill-judged single.
Peter Trego was bowled for 12, attempting to pull a delivery from Murtagh and, at 298 for six, Somerset were only 52 in front. But Craig Meschede soon added to their advantage with some adventurous stroke-play.
The emerging all-rounder rode his luck, playing and missing on several occasions, before Compton’s long vigil finally ended with the total on 333.
After so much patience he could hardly believe it when, one short of his ton, he carelessly pulled a ball from Toby Roland-Jones straight to Chris Rogers at midwicket.
Vernon Philander and George Dockrell fell to successive deliveries from Collymore before Meschede was last man out for 37, caught on the midwicket boundary off Roland-Jones.
Somerset then set about defending their lead with vigour. It took Middlesex 4.5 overs to register their first run in their second innings as Philander and Steve Kirby bowled with accuracy and menace.
Kirby, in particular, beat the bat on numerous occasions, finally getting his reward when pinning Joe Denly lbw on the back-foot for nine.
Robson and Rogers were also severely tested, but survived until bad light and then drizzle brought play to an end.