LV= County Championship – Glamorgan’s collapse all but hands Middlesex victory on...

LV= County Championship – Glamorgan’s collapse all but hands Middlesex victory on Day 3

Glamorgan produced a woeful batting display in the evening session to essentially hand their key Division 2 clash to promotion rivals Middlesex. They lost 7 wickets for 64 runs after tea to lead by just 15 runs with two wickets in hand at the end of the day’s play.

Glamorgan went into the third innings with a deficit of 176 after dismissing Middlesex for 390, with Luke Hollman’s 57 down the order proving useful for the home side. James Harris’ 5-90 was the pick of the bowling figures. 

After a positive afternoon session with captain Lloyd the stand out for his 70, the Welsh side collapsed from 127/1 at lunch to 191/8 at close of play. Toby Roland-Jones took three wickets, with Ethan Bamber and Tim Murtagh taking two apiece to leave Middlesex on the edge of victory at Lord’s. 

Middlesex started the day with a lead of 72 runs, as well as two set batters in Simpson and Higgins. Therefore, the home side had on opportunity to make Glamorgan pay for their underwhelming first innings score of 214, and take the game away from the Welsh side.

When Higgins pulled the first delivery of the day to the square leg boundary, it seemed this was going to be the case. However, Hogan and Harris used their experience to gain control of proceedings; the Middlesex pair were unable to play with the same fluidity that saw them begin to build a lead the previous evening. Chances fell short, but the warning signs were there. 

Simpson, who had only added four runs to his overnight score, soon fell victim to a wonderful delivery from Hogan. Outside edge beaten, the top of his off stump was clipped sending both bails flying. Not to be outdone, Harris produced a beauty of his own in the next over. He hit the seam perfectly, and Higgins’ middle stump went cartwheeling. An electric start for the travelling team was exactly what they needed.

However, Glamorgan were unable to build on this. With Roland-Jones and Hollman at the crease, they seemed somewhat short of ideas. Chances were few and far between, with Hollman especially looking comfortable against the change bowling of Lloyd and van der Gugten.

Hoping for some magic, Ajaz Patel was thrown the ball in 102nd over. The New Zealander repaid his captain’s faith immediately, forcing Roland-Jones into an edge to slip. He soon had his second, enticing Bamber into a shot that found its way to diving Lloyd at gully. 

Hollman continued to bat positively, working the gaps in the field. He soon reached 50 for the fourth time in his career. His fine innings came to an end soon after, but not before he launched Patel into the stands for 6. His wicket brought James Harris, in his 16th season as a professional, his 16th five-wicket haul. He used all his experience to maintain control, truly meriting his 5/90.  Lunch was taken, with Middlesex 176 runs ahead.

The opening pair of Byrom and Lloyd looked to be positive, aiming to reduce the large deficit swiftly. This challenge was helped unwittingly by the Middlesex bowling attack, who were unable to apply the necessary pressure. Byrom being dropped first ball was the only chance of note, as the openers were soon able to find some fluency in their shots. 

It was Lloyd who predominantly led the charge. The Glamorgan captain soon found himself reaching the half-century mark after just 64 balls, with Middlesex seemingly short of answers. Glamorgan continued to cash in, with the opening partnership reaching 100 after just 25.2 overs. The only way it seemed likely to be broken was through batter error rather than a piece of bowling magic.

This was exactly what happened. A seemingly harmless delivery from Bamber just before tea tempted the fluent Lloyd into a drive that found Robson at gully. Soon after tea was called, with Glamorgan firmly in the game, trailing by 49 runs. 

Middlesex emerged for the evening session as a changed team. The field, so quiet in the afternoon session, was now alive with chirps of encouragement. The wicket, and then the tea break, knocked all of the momentum out of Glamorgan; the positive approach dissipated, and their first innings demons returned. 

Roland-Jones, unusually uneconomical in his first spell, re-emerged looking akin to the player who announced himself on the international stage in 2017. Glamorgan had no answer- first Byrom, then Northeast just two balls later fell victim to the edge of the bat. The runs dried up, with the field cramping Carlson and Gill for space. 

Carlson attempted to relieve this pressure, and paid the price. His swipe on one knee failed to connect properly, and Murtagh’s delivery was guided straight to Eskinazi in the slips. Four down soon became six down, with Root and Gill soon picking out fielders off Bamber and the captain respectively. 123/0 had become 144/6, with the Welsh side still 32 runs in arrears. 

It seemed that Cooke and Harris held Glamorgan’s last hope. They restored some order, and stemmed the flow of wickets, even able to score some boundaries. Their partnership of 31 brought stability, before Harris edged Middlesex closer to victory into Simpson’s gloves off Roland-Jones. Soon after Cooke’s vigil was over, with the home side finally getting an LBW appeal in their favour. 

Patel weathered the storm, and even managed some wonderful stroke play exemplified by a clip into the leg side for four. He and van der Gugten were able to see out the rest of the evening’s play, with Middlesex on the brink of victory.


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