YORKSHIRE finished with the upper hand yesterday at Lord’s though their hosts Middlesex battled bravely to end day two of the Division One County Championship match on 274-5, a lead of 81.
The visitors gained a first-innings lead of 193 after 79 for the last wicket to reach 299 all out, before reducing Middlesex from 87-0 to 143-5, though Nick Compton and James Franklin fought back.
The White Rose resumed on 238-9 overnight and last pair Jack Brooks and Ryan Sidebottom did superbly to add 61 runs in the morning session at a run rate above four.
Sidebottom was stoic and calm while Brooks was ever-willing to flash his blade, hitting 10 fours in scoring 50 not out from just 69 balls.
Eventually Tim Murtagh had Sidebottom caught and bowled for 28, leaving Yorkshire stranded on 299, one short of another batting point to aid their chase for a Championship record points haul.
Middlesex openers Sam Robson and Paul Stirling exploited the favourable batting conditions to build a platform for recovery, adding 87 for the first wicket.
That is the devil’s number in Australia and it proved so here, as Yorkshire took three wickets for nought to retain total control of the contest.
Tim Bresnan bowled Robson for a fluent 53 before James Middlebrook dismissed Stirling and Dawid Malan in the same over, Malan completing a king pair that provided a sharp end to his superb recent form.
Middlesex debutant Stevie Eskinazi looked a promising youngster, appearing confident and compact in making 22 before being bowled by a peach of a Steve Patterson delivery that swung in to send the off-stump cartwheeling.
It seemed fitting that the young pretender, on his opening appearance at Lord’s, was replaced by a former Middlesex captain and superb club servant making his last.
Neil Dexter fittingly passed 6,000 first-class runs before being dismissed on the stroke of tea time, leaving Middlesex 143-5.
The hosts then batted impressively in the evening session to suffer no further losses, as Compton and Franklin made stumps unbeaten on 86 and 60 respectively, giving Middlesex hope of salvaging a positive result.