Hughes continues to shine
Phillip Hughes’s brilliant 195 and a fine 86 from Dawid Malan enabled Middlesex to put Surrey under pressure late on the third day at The Oval.
A draw appears likely in the LV= County Championship Division Two clash, however, at least while Mark Ramprakash remains at the crease for Surrey.
At the close they were 60 for one, a lead of three, with Ramprakash unbeaten on 31.
But Tim Murtagh’s first-over strike with the new ball, having Scott Newman caught by Hughes at third slip, gave Middlesex the opportunity to make some capital out of their hard-won lead of 57.
And Ramprakash, who scored 133 in the Surrey first innings, then survived what looked to be a low chance to Hughes in the same position off Alan Richardson.
Malan, with 11 fours in his 167-ball knock, did most of the work after the remarkable Hughes, who resumed on 134, had finally fallen in the fourth over with the second new ball.
His third hundred in four Championship innings had taken him only 247 balls, and he struck 28 fours – many of them violent and most either through his favourite offside area between third man and cover or pulled to mid-wicket.
Hughes has now scored 517 runs at an average of 172. His first-class career average has risen to just below 70, in his 24th match, but his top score still remains the 198 he hit for New South Wales against South Australia at Adelaide last winter.
Shaun Udal, the Middlesex captain, was last out for a useful 36 after the 21-year old Malan had rather tamely chipped a catch to mid-off.
Off-spinner Murtaza Hussain was the pick of the Surrey bowlers, claiming the wickets of Nick Compton and Ben Scott with successive deliveries, and both sides fought hard for supremacy throughout the afternoon.
Understandably, however, the cricket lost much of its verve once Hughes – who had begun the day with 134 out of 200 for two – was fourth out at 317.
For once his favourite cut shot did not come off as he edged to keeper Jon Batty off a delighted Jade Dernbach.