Dawid Malan hit his maiden century of the season as Middlesex enjoyed the best of the second day of the first Specsavers County Championship London derby of the season at Lord’s.
Malan combined with his Middlesex sixth-wicket partner James Franklin to add an unbroken 92 through to stumps - cutting Surrey’s first-innings lead to a modest 17 and taking the hosts into the third day on 296 for five. Just before the close Malan reached three figures from 169 balls and with 15 fours, while Franklin faced only 67 deliveries in his livewire knock worth 63.
Dawid Malan said: "I needed those runs and it was nice to contribute to the team in a game we need to win. I've been making 20s and 30s with the ball hitting the middle of the bat, so it was nice to convert my decent start today into three figures.
"There's still a little bit in the pitch and offer can get another 120 then there's no reason why we can't put them under pressure and give ourselves something to chase on the last day."
Responding to Surrey’s workmanlike 313 all out, Middlesex openers Nick Compton and Nick Gubbins added 20 either side of lunch. Gubbins rode his luck to start, playing and missing he survived three strenuous lbw appeals as the Curran brothers, Tom and Sam, set a stern examination with the new ball.
On 17 Gubbins, moved across his stumps to go lbw after prodding hesitantly outside the line off a late away-swinger – the first ball of the mid-session from Sam Curran.
Curran gave way at the Nursery End to fellow left-armer Mark Footitt, who produced a beauty to account for Compton, the former England bat who ultimately did well to edge to the keeper after the ball lifted and left him off the pitch.
Home No.3 Stevie Eskinazi also enjoyed some good fortune. On 29 he was dropped at second slip by Scott Borthwick then, on 41, Eskinazi dragged an attempted drive against Stuart Meaker just wide of his own off stump. Undaunted, the right-hander continued to go for his shots in moving to a 64-ball 50 with nine fours.
In a final session scheduled for 45 overs, Eskinazi – who moved past 1,000 first-class career runs during his stay – departed for 67 after feathering a Footitt leg-cutter to the keeper. He and Malan had added 100 for the third wicket.
After almost two hours at the crease Malan moved to his maiden half-century of the Championship summer from 85 balls and with nine fours. Borthwick then made amends for his earlier blunder by holding a stinging overhead chance in the cordon to account for Adam Voges (9) and give Stuart Meaker a first scalp.
Footitt struck for a third time by trapping John Simpson leg before as he worked across the line, bringing together Franklin and Malan, who survived through to stumps.
Surrey, resuming on their overnight score of 265 for five, had earlier conspired to lose their last five wickets for 48 runs and inside the first 90 minutes of the opening session.
Their first-day century maker Kumar Sangakkara started the demise, perishing to the 12th delivery of the morning. Having added a single to his Friday-night score of 113, the Sri Lanka legend, in aiming a back-foot force against Franklin, picked out Ollie Rayner low at gully.
One run later and in his next over, Franklin, the left-arm seamer, swung one away from Sam Curran who obligingly followed and edged to Rayner at second slip. Curran walked off with two to his name and the feeling, perhaps, that he might have allowed the delivery to swing harmlessly by.
His brother, Tom Curran, then sparred at a spitting delivery from Toby Roland-Jones and edge into the cordon where Rayner, back at second slip, snaffled his third catch inside 25 minutes.
Gareth Batty, the Surrey skipper, joined forces with Stuart Meaker to post the visitors third batting bonus point before Batty, in aiming a hook against Tom Helm, skied to mid-on where Steven Finn took an excellent tumbling catch.
With 313 on the board, Meaker cut a wayward delivery obligingly to backward point to give Helm figures of three for 81. However, Franklin was easily pick of the home attack with his four for 40 from 15 overs.