Sam Robson staked his claim for inclusion in next week’s first Test with his third century in as many innings at Lord’s on Day Two against Nottinghamshire.
Robson, whose 337 runs in two innings against Warwickshire in Middlesex’s first match of the campaign was a record for the county at the home of cricket, continued the run-fest with another ton to bat his side back into contention after the fall of early wickets.
With the selectors due to name their squad for the game against Sri Lanka later this week, the Australian-born 26-year-old’s timing could not be better.
Just 24 hours earlier the current incumbent at the top of England’s order Alex Hales had posted 73, but Robson did what his fellow opener had failed to do and converted his effort into another three-figure score.
The right-hander’s innings was especially commendable given the hosts were in deep trouble. Having lost Nick Gubbins for 11 to Stuart Broad, they saw Nick Compton and Dawid Malan depart in successive balls at the hands of Brett Hutton to be 49-3.
Robson’s cohort in the Middlesex rebuild was doughty wicketkeeper John Simpson, who negotiated Hutton’s hat-trick ball before continuing his own impressive start to the season with the bat with an unbeaten half century in a stand of 154 and counting.
His 66 included an enormous six off Jeetan Patel which flew far enough to break a window on the middle balcony of the pavilion scattering members in the process and resulting in attempts by the visitors to get the ball changed once it been retrieved.
Simpson’s assault on Patel saw him removed from the attack allowing the Middlesex pair to bat throughout the afternoon.
Robson was seven short of his century at the interval, but two boundaries soon after the resumption, the second through square leg, brought his latest landmark.
Whether his efforts will be enough to sway James Whitaker and co this time around remains to be seen, but the man banished by queries over technique in the late summer of 2014 is definitely back on the radar.
Middlesex had earlier wrapped up Notts’ first innings in less than four overs, Patel unable to add to his overnight 86, Toby Roland-Jones having him caught at deep square, before scattering Harry Gurney’s stumps to complete a fifer.
So a day which threatened struggle for James Franklin’s side ended with them regretting the arrival of bad light and then rain with almost 30 overs still to be bowled.
Sadly, for this intriguingly poised contest, more is forecast for tomorrow.