12 Days Remaining

Tuesday 15th
posted by Morning Star in Sport

by Michael McCann, at Lord's

Superb 100s from Nick Compton and Toby Roland-Jones allowed Middlesex to comeback against defending County Champions Yorkshire at Lord’s, ending the day in the box seat. 

The White Rose had controlled the first two days after bowling Middlesex out for 106 before making 299 themselves but the hosts closed day three on 573-8 in their second innings, having been 143-5. 

Resuming on 274-5 overnight, Middlesex lost James Franklin early on to Ryan Sidebottom for 63 but Nick Compton remained calm and composed to reach his second Championship 100 of this season. 

Compton received excellent support from John Simpson, who scored a patient 47 from 165 balls involving a good ability to regularly leave the ball, before falling LBW to Adam Lyth. 

Opener Compton fell for a season-best 149, LBW to James Middlebrook after not getting forward, though this defiant knock had suddenly brought Middlesex into contention. 

That was the 19th Championship century for Compton, and the fourth successive season in which he has scored a century against that year's title winners, suggesting a great ability to perform on the big occasion when facing the best bowling attacks. 

Compton also seems to fare better at the start and end of the season for some reason — his 19 centuries have come in mid-season of June, July and August compared to eight in April and May and six in September. 

The dismissal of Compton left Middlesex 427-8 and 234 ahead but by then Roland-Jones had already given a sign of what was to come, a statement of intent, hitting three fours off a Jack Brooks over early in his innings. 

Roland-Jones was the aggressor, striking 103 from just 122 balls for his maiden Championship ton, including 18 fours and six in an unbroken 9th wicket stand of 146 with James Harris, who was more sedate. 

Harris was content to play second fiddle, scoring a patient unbeaten 67 to leave Middlesex 380 ahead overnight and in control of this match for the first time. 

Yorkshire are suddenly in danger of losing their unbeaten record in the Championship this season after six sessions of toil in the field since the middle of day two. 

Three Yorkshire bowlers went for over a 100 runs though the pitch and despite taking some turn for Middlebrook, has considerably flattened out, favouring the batsman. 

The White Rose have built their season on attacking cricket and chasing wins, so when batting second time around it will be intriguing to see if they are tempted by the run chase or happy to target a draw and protect their unbeaten status.