CLOSE OF PLAY

Surrey 415 & 266- 7 (dec)

Middlesex 293 & 278-6

MATCH DRAWN
Surrey 13 points
Middlesex 10 points 

George Bailey and James Franklin built a match-saving partnership of 174 in 51 overs as Middlesex batted out time to secure the draw against Surrey at Lord’s which keeps them 13 points clear of second-placed Somerset at the top of the Specsavers County Championship Division One.

Bailey finished on 110 not out, his first hundred for the county, and Franklin made 70 in three hours as Middlesex, wobbling at 82 for 5 at one stage in their second innings, ended up on 278 for 6 after being set 389 to win in 91 overs by Surrey’s second innings declaration at 266 for 7.

Zafar Ansari took three wickets in the first 35 minutes after lunch to give Surrey hope of victory but Australian batsman Bailey was then joined by former New Zealand all-rounder Franklin in a sixth wicket stand which blunted the visiting attack. Deep inside the final hour, Ansari finally bowled Franklin with one that turned from the rough outside the left-hander’s off stump to earn himself figures of 4 for 63.

Bailey batted for 199 balls, hitting 20 fours, and Franklin’s 153-ball effort included ten fours. Both showed huge determination, especially as Bailey struggled early on against Ansari, while Franklin initially had an uncomfortable time against the pace of Stuart Meaker. Slow left-armer Ansari, a leading contender for England’s second spinner role on the sub-continent this winter, removed Nick Compton, Dawid Malan and John Simpson in an excellent post-lunch spell after Middlesex had lost both openers to the new ball before Compton and Malan rallied them to 70 for 2 at lunch.

Tom Curran nipped one back down the slope from the Pavilion End to have Stevie Eskinazi lbw for 13 in the fifth over, and then Sam Curran tempted Nick Gubbins, on 5, with an away-swinging full ball which he drove straight to square cover. From 26 for 2, Compton and Malan put on 45. The right-hander survived big shouts for lbw and caught behind on 8 and 19, against Meaker, and in the last over before lunch was fortunate to see a diving Jason Roy just fail to get to a miscued pull at Dominic Sibley’s occasional leg spin after sprinting from short mid on towards mid wicket. On 22, however, Compton came down the pitch to Ansari and was stumped by Ben Foakes.

Gareth Batty, bowling his off spin in tandem with Ansari after lunch, helped to ramp up the pressure on the Middlesex batsmen and beat Malan with sharp turn while his younger spin partner twice ripped the ball past Bailey’s defensive bat. Further Surrey breakthroughs looked inevitable, and so it proved with Foakes showing superb reflexes behind the stumps to scoop up the catch when Malan, on 29, clipped Ansari into short leg’s boot.

Switching to around the wicket, Ansari then straightened one to John Simpson to have the left-hander lbw for 4 and, suddenly, Middlesex were facing a long uphill struggle to save the game. To their immense credit, Bailey and Franklin were equal to the challenge and, by the time Franklin was dropped on 66 by Foakes off Sam Curran, the draw was all but certain.

Earlier in the day, Surrey added 32 more runs in four overs to their overnight 234 for 6. Sam Curran, on 71 overnight, was stumped without addition when he gave the third ball of the day – his second – from Ollie Rayner the charge, but Tom Curran then came in to biff 17 not out from 11 balls and add 31 in 3.3 overs with Foakes, who ended up on 65 not out.

 

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TEA - DAY FOUR

Middlesex Seconds Innings: 152 for 5

Surrey lead by 236 runs

Zafar Ansari took 3 for 35 from 18 overs as Surrey pushed hard for a last day victory against Middlesex in the Specsavers County Championship Division One clash at Lord’s.

Slow left-armer Ansari, a leading contender for England’s second spinner role on the sub-continent this winter, removed Nick Compton, Dawid Malan and John Simpson in a devastating post-lunch spell as Middlesex slid to 82 for 5. But, by tea, a fighting unbroken sixth wicket stand of 70 between George Bailey and James Franklin had taken Middlesex to 152 for 5 with one session of the match remaining.

Bailey was unbeaten on 48 at the interval, having struggled early on against Ansari, while Franklin was 24 not out despite an uncomfortable time against the pace of Stuart Meaker.

Set 389 to win in a minimum of 90 overs, after Surrey had batted on for four overs from an overnight 234 for 6 before declaring their second innings on 266 for 7, Middlesex lost both openers to the new ball before Compton and Malan rallied them to 70 for 2 at lunch.

Tom Curran nipped one back down the slope from the Pavilion End to have Stevie Eskinazi lbw for 13 in the fifth over, and then Sam Curran tempted Nick Gubbins, on 5, with an away-swinging full ball which he drove straight to square cover. On 22, Compton came down the pitch to Ansari, seemed to play over the ball as he attempted to drive, and was stumped by Ben Foakes.

Gareth Batty, bowling his off spin in tandem with Ansari after lunch, helped to ramp up the pressure on the Middlesex batsmen and beat Malan with sharp turn while his younger spin partner twice ripped the ball past Bailey’s defensive bat.

Further Surrey breakthroughs looked inevitable, and so it proved with Foakes showing his excellent reflexes behind the stumps to scoop up the catch when Malan, on 29, clipped Ansari into short leg’s boot. Switching to around the wicket, Ansari then straightened one to John Simpson to have the left-hander lbw for 4 and Middlesex were facing a long uphill struggle to save the game.

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LUNCH - DAY FOUR

Middlesex Second Innings: 70 for 2

Surrey lead by 318 runs

Surrey’s all-action Curran brothers, Tom and Sam, each made an important new ball strike to leave Middlesex, who reached lunch on the final day at 70 for 2, with an uphill struggle to save the Specsavers County Championship Division One clash at Lord’s.

Tom Curran nipped one back down the slope to have Stevie Eskinazi leg-before for 13 in the fifth over of Middlesex’s second innings, after they had been set 389 to win from a minimum of 90 overs by Surrey’s declaration on 266 for 7.

And Nick Gubbins, dropped on 0 at second slip by Jason Roy off Tom Curran, then drove a full, away-swinging ball from Sam Curran straight into his elder brother’s hands at square cover to go for 5.

From 26 for 2 Middlesex fought through to the interval as Nick Compton and Dawid Malan put on 44 – but Compton was close to being lbw to Stuart Meaker on 8 and Surrey have yet to bowl both their frontline spinners, Ansari and Gareth Batty, in tandem.

A tough afternoon is in prospect for the home side. Compton, who also survived a big shout for a catch at the wicket off Meaker on 19, was then fortunate to survive a mishit pull at Dominic Sibley’s leg spin, in the final over before lunch – the ball lobbing up to mid wicket where Roy, sprinting from short mid on, just failed to get his fingers under it as he dived full length. At lunch, Compton was on 22* and Malan 23*.

Earlier this morning, resuming on 234 for 6, Surrey added 32 more runs in four overs. Sam Curran, on 71 overnight, was stumped without addition when he gave the third ball of the day – his second – from Ollie Rayner the charge, but Tom Curran then came in to biff 17 not out from 11 balls and add 31 in 3.3 overs with Ben Foakes, who ended up on 65 not out.