DAY THREE - CLOSE OF PLAY
Middlesex’s attempt to win the County Championship for the first time in more than two decades encountered stern local resistance at Lord’s as capital rivals Surrey strengthened their own fight against relegation.
Illustrating the capricious nature of cricket Jason Roy and Rory Burns, who between them made five runs against Middlesex on this ground in the Royal London Cup on Tuesday, scored a combined 198 as Surrey racked up 384-8. With Middlesex’s bowlers failing to capitalise on a promising start in helpful conditions Roy made a century and Burns should have done. In four innings in three formats across seven days Roy has scored 120*, 93*, 0 and 110. The lesson is that in current form once he gets in he is hard to stop and it was not until he was 95 he gave a chance, being dropped at mid-wicket by a diving Dawid Malan off James Franklin.
Thereafter the normally destructive ball-striker proceeded in singles, finally scrambling the one he needed to achieve his first Lord’s century. With places in England’s batting line-up potentially available soon it was a well-timed innings. There was a century for the taking for Burns too, and he knew it. The opener - who will have international ambitions of his own given Alex Hales’ mixed form - sank to his haunches in despair when he was dismissed. Having moved serenely to 88 off 127 balls he slashed an undeserving tennis-ball bouncer from James Harris into the hands of George Bailey on the deep point boundary.
Earlier Surrey had elected to bat on a wicket with a green tinge, aiming to see off the new ball and prosper. The gamble almost failed. With the ball moving under cloudy skies they quickly lost Dominic Sibley and Zafar Ansari leg before to Tim Murtagh. Aaron Finch went the same way after a breezy 37 but then Burns and Roy settled in. They added 118 before Burns’ exit, then Roy and Steve Davies (38) put on a further 83 before the latter was leg before last ball before tea.
Injury-hit Middlesex recalled Nick Compton after a period away from the game to recharge his batteries after the stress of trying - and failing - to revive his Test career and he took the catch at cover which ended Roy’s innings. However, Foakes was then missed on ten at gully - a sharp chance to Stephen Eskinazi. That proved expensive as the sun emerged to counter the benefits of taking the new ball. The wicketkeeper was 53 not out at the close and, with the Curran brothers chipping in - Tom scoring 26, Sam 20, Surrey, inconveniently for their neighbours, are within sight of passing 400 for only the fourth time this season.
DAY TWO - TEA
Jason Roy took advantage of a ‘life’ to record his first century at Lord’s as Surrey made an sound start to their Specsavers County Championship match against leaders Middlesex. Roy was on 95 when he chipped James Franklin to mid-wicket only for a diving Dawid Malan to spill the chance. Four watchful overs later he scampered a quick single to reach 100 as Surrey reached tea 271-5.
Roy was dismissed for ducks in his last two first-class innings, and his last outing, here in the Royal London Cup on Tuesday. But he had also posted unbeaten scores of 120 and 93 in the past week and continued that form as Middlesex’s bowlers failed to press home an early advantage on a wicket with a greenish tinge.
Surrey, who need points themselves to remain clear of relegation, elected to bat but quickly lost Dominic Sibley and Zafar Ansari leg before to Tim Murtagh. Aaron Finch went the same way after a breezy 37 but Rory Burns and Roy then added 118 before Burns caught slashing James Harris to deep point.
DAY ONE - LUNCH
Surrey 125 for 3
Rory Burns reached his third half-century in four innings before lunch at Lord’s on the opening day of Surrey’s Specsavers County Championship match against Middlesex.
Burns, who made successive fifties in the Royal London Cup last month, but only five on this ground in the competition on Tuesday, took advantage of the short Grandstand boundary to post nine fours in his fifty. However, with Middlesex taking advantage of ball movement under cloudy skies, Surrey also lost three wickets in the session to reach the interval 125-3 off 27 overs.
Some batsmen still seemed in one-day mode with Aaron Finch lifting Tim Murtagh for six as he made 37 off 32 balls and Jason Roy, having come to the crease at 70-3, scoring an unbeaten 31 off 37 balls.
All three wickets were leg before with Murtagh dismissing both Dom Sibley and Zafar Ansari cheaply before James Franklin took the important wicket of Finch.