CLOSE OF PLAY

MIDDLESEX 408 - 6
DURHAM 204 all out

On a day when England’s batsmen struggled in the fourth and final Test barely five miles south of the Thames in SE11, so Middlesex batsman Nick Compton dominated centre stage at Lord’s by hitting a season’s best 131 against Durham a useful, if somewhat luckless seam attack.

The 33-year-old – who won the last of his 16 Test caps here against Sri Lanka in June – batted for almost five-and-a-half hours to help Middlesex reach 408 for six for a 204-run lead at the mid-point of this Specsavers County Championship clash.

Resuming on their overnight score of 100 for one and in response to Durham’s below par 204, Compton set out his stall to bat for much of the second day alongside second-wicket partner Nick Gubbins.

In the end, the pair gloried in sunny afternoon conditions through to 4.06pm in adding 247 for the second wicket until Gubbins went for 145 – a single short of his 1,000th championship run for the summer.

On a pitch that has lightened in colour and eased in pace as the hours passed, the pair easily broke the second wicket record for Middlesex games against Durham of 167, set my Mike Gatting and Mike Roseberry at Lord’s in 1992.

Gubbins reached his third ton of the summer from 232 balls and with 14 fours, while Compton went to his first century of the season from 193 balls with only 11 boundaries.

After 400 minutes at the crease left-handed Gubbins, who had been dropped on 39 the previous evening, fenced at Mark Wood’s lifting leg-cutter to be caught throat high at slip by Scott Borthwick.

Having waited 80 overs for a breakthrough, Durham needed only three more before celebrating the dismissal of Dawid Malan, caught behind for five having chanced his arm against the bowling of Graham Onions.

Compton, dropped during the morning session when on 15 after Paul Collingwood downed a regulations slip catch, grew visibly in confidence once past his maiden 50 for the season. By mid-afternoon the trademark back-foot forces and powerful drives had been unfurled and richly enjoyed by the Middlesex faithful.

Durham leg-spinner Scott Borthwick, who tried his luck from both ends, caused Compton the occasional headache, particularly with his quicker-ball, but the Durban-born batter was not to be denied a 24th first-class hundred.

His vigil ended after tea against the fiery bowling of Onions who, together with Woods and Chris Rushworth, had tried their utmost on an easing surface. Aiming a weary run down to third man, Compton chopped the ball onto his stumps to depart with his side on 338 for four – the hosts duly missed out on a fourth batting bonus point.    

With their lead already beyond 150, Middlesex lost a fifth wicket when John Simpson, in trying to up the tempo, nicked a push drive to second slip and give Paul Coughlin his first wicket of the match.

Paul Stirling’s cameo 43 took the Middlesex score beyond 400 before the Irish batsman steered to leg slip, giving Borthwick a hard-earned first success of the day just before stumps.   

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TEA UPDATE

MIDDLESEX 316-1
DURHAM 204 all out 

The Middlesex second-wicket pairing of Nick Gubbins and Nick Compton celebrated championship hundreds during the mid-session on the second day of their one-sided Specsavers County Championship match with Durham at Lord’s.

The unbeaten duo went in at tea with their side sitting pretty on 316 for one – an overall lead in this Division One match of 112 – and having added an unbroken 239 for the second wicket.

After some woeful first-day batting that led to their demise for a below par 204 within two sessions, Durham have endured little or no luck on a pitch in NW8 that has lightened in colour and eased in pace as the hours have passed. Compton, dropped on 15 this morning when Paul Collingwood downed a regulations slip catch, went on to post his maiden century of the championship summer from 193 balls and with 11 fours.

Gubbins meanwhile, who enjoyed a let off on 39 when wicketkeeper Michael Richardson grassed a sharp chance on Saturday evening, posted his third hundred of the campaign from 232 balls after almost five hours at the crease.

Durham gave the second new ball to the feisty Mark Wood who went up for a catch at the wicket against Gubbins with his fifth delivery with the new cherry, but umpire Michael Burns turned the appeal down, ensuring Durham went through a second entire session without taking a wicket.     

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LUNCH UPDATE

MIDDLESEX 189-1
DURHAM 204 all out 

The two Nicks; Compton and Gubbins piled on the agony for Durham with a second-wicket century stand that looks set to help Middlesex build a healthy first-innings lead in their Specsavers County Championship clash at Lord’s.

The duo took the hosts in at lunch on day two with 189 for one on the board – representing a small overall match deficit of 15.

Left-handed Gubbins, on 87 is fast approaching his third century of the summer, while Compton posted his first 50 of the championship season in 167 minutes and with only four boundaries.    

Durham, who batted poorly on day two, will be ruing their lapses in the field however. Gubbins was dropped behind the wicket off Graham Onions on Saturday evening with his score on 39, while Compton, having already survived two huge lbw shouts, was dropped at slip with his score on 15. Chris Rushworth was the luckless bowler on that occasion.