Stumps, Day Three: Middlesex 470-8 (Eskinazi 157; Brooks 5-89) lead Yorkshire 406 (Ballance 132) by 64 runs, at Scarborough
Not to do the brilliant century by Steven Eskinazi an injustice, but it is a testament to the type of day that has occurred at a cricket match when news that the attendance was a satisfying 2222 prompted the congregation of the press box to murmur excitedly and impersonate the late, great Richie Benaud.
Viewing the scorecard alone, you would be forgiven for thinking that the visitors had relished in a run-fest but that was not really the story of the day. Yes Eskinazi brought up his second century of the season in only his second first-class match of the campaign, but he had to bat until 3:00pm for the accolade, having begun the day on 19.
The Yorkshire bowling attack – weakened by the absence of England stars Liam Plunkett and Adil Rashid but also Ryan Sidebottom through injury – toiled away for the day and whilst runs perhaps did not flow freely, neither did wickets.
Steve Patterson had four balls to finish off from his over last night, when the rain cut short the second day, but after that Tim Bresnan, Jack Brooks, Azeem Rafiq and
Will Rhodes all tried their hand at removing Eskinazi and his partner for 121 runs George Bailey.
It was Rhodes who eventually got the breakthrough and, having bowled well in the session beginning on 1-0 overnight and finishing 2-36 by the end of it, got Bailey caught at gully by Bresnan.
Whilst John Simpson came and went with little resistance, Eskinazi remained for the lion’s share of the day before he pulled Brooks to Williamson at deep square leg and was – finally for Yorkshire – back in the hutch for 157.
The wicket fell shortly after Middlesex took the lead on day three of this match, giving them a 22 run advantage.
James Franklin scored his first half century of the 2016 season from 100 balls – that is after taking 30 deliveries just to get off the mark!
The late flurry of wickets by the headband warrior – Brooks – in collaboration with Kane Williamson, saw Franklin perish on a torturous 99.
Eskinazi struck the ball with ease and precision around the ground, changing the tempo of his innings as his stay at the crease lengthened.
His 50 came from 118 balls with eight fours but his hundred came from 224 balls with 17 fours. And he wasn’t finished either!
He finally fell to Brooks for 157 late in the day.
Yorkshire’s attitude in the field was a peculiar one. When wickets fell the players all of a sudden looked enthused and like they might rip the Middlesex batting line-up apart in a matter of overs. But, after a few overs of no wicket, their heads went back down and the lethargy set in again.
A late burst from Brooks, taking 3-9, gave the hosts a late confidence boost if nothing else as he finished the day’s play with 5-81 – having been 2-72 until the quick wickets of Eskinazi, Paul Stirling and Franklin.
That final burst from Yorkshire slightly brought the game to life again, but unfortunately a draw is still the most likely result and Middlesex had the best of day three – finishing 470-8 with a lead of 64.