Middlesex on the brink of victory
Day two saw Middlesex continue to dominate at Sophia Gardens.
Restarting on 171/6, the overnight pair of John Simpson and Toby Roland-Jones were not threatened by the Glamorgan seamers and Roland-Jones scored at a brisk pace, reaching his 50 off just 62 balls. However, just as the pair brought up the century partnership Roland-Jones clipped Harris into Cooke’s gloves.
At 213/7 Tom Helm joined Simpson and the same tempo continued. By lunch they had taken the total to 263/7, a lead of 141. While the pitch had flattened out, the Glamorgan bowlers had not been able to challenge the batters as often as their Middlesex counterparts.
Neser struck in the fourth over after lunch removing Helm for 33 after he had put on 61 with Simpson for the eight wicket. Afridi took more of an agricultural approach but when he was out for 29, Simpson had moved on to an excellent century and Middlesex had notched up their third batting bonus point. This looked an unlikely landmark yesterday when Middlesex had been reduced to 110/6. Wallawita did not last long and Middlesex finished on 336, a lead of 214, Simpson 104 not out.
When Glamorgan came out after tea the early signs were that the batters’ life had become more comfortable. However the probing accuracy of the Middlesex seam attack eventually got the upper hand and wickets fell at regular intervals.
Lloyd was bowled playing around a straight ball from Roland-Jones and Salter was out to a sharp delivery from Helm that clipped the top of off stump. Labuschagne played some handsome drives, but when Afridi came on for his first bowl of the game from the Cathedral Road end, he trapped him in front for 23. This is the seventh time in eight innings that they have faced each other that Afridi has dismissed Labuschagne.
Carlson was next out, lbw to Andersson’s first ball of the innings and when Cooke was out to Roland-Jones, caught in the slips by White, Glamorgan were 76/5, still trailing by 138. Taylor went without scoring and Roland-Jones had his third. Northeast stood firm at the other end and Neser started playing some attacking shots, but just after 6pm the umpires took the players off for bad light.
Glamorgan ended the day on 104/6, still 110 behind.
Glamorgan supporters will hope that they can press on in the morning to salvage some pride for the home team. Undoubtedly, this has highlighted some of the batting weaknesses at the top of the order. The Middlesex seam attack has also been the more effective, maintaining a disciplined line and length throughout the game.
While the pitch was bowler friendly on the morning of day one, the partnerships from the Middlesex lower order have highlighted what has been possible as the game has progressed.
Middlesex will be looking to wrap the game up early on day three.