Taylor ton sets up final day
Middlesex 219 and 168 for 4 v Leicestershire 282
Leicestershire's James Taylor posted his third century in four matches against Middlesex to leave this County Championship clash at Lord's intriguingly poised going into the final day. The 20-year-old right-hander occupied the crease in NW8 for a shade over six hours in reaching an unbeaten 106 with only eight fours to help his side reach 282 all out, a useful first-innings lead of 63.
Batting again by 2pm, Middlesex made a good start with an enterprising opening stand worth 119 in 33 overs either side of tea between Scott Newman and John Simpson. Former Surrey left-hander Newman counter attacked with 11 fours in his 110-ball half-century, but was first to go soon after tea for 70 when his top-edged cut to a turning, lifting ball from Claude Henderson looped to Jacques du Toit at slip.
Left-arm spinner Henderson struck again in his next over when Simpson (44) walked across his stumps aiming to work through the leg-side only to fall lbw. Attacking with spin at both ends, Leicestershire struck again through Jigar Naik when he tossed one up from the Pavilion End to draw Dawid Malan into an ill-advised drive that he edged to slip.
Three overs from the close, home skipper Neil Dexter (18) was trapped on the crease by a Nadeem Malik offcutter to go leg before but nightwatchman Toby Roland-Jones (one) and Owais Shah (25) survived until stumps to reach 168 for 4, a lead of 105 to take into the fourth and final day.
The third day of this fluctuating tussle had started with Leicestershire on 186 for 5, still trailing by 33 runs after a rain-ruined Tuesday. Unbeaten on 65 overnight, Taylor soon lost sixth-wicket partner Naik (36) when he played back to the sixth ball of the game by occasional legspinner Malan to go leg before to a quicker delivery.
In tandem with Henderson, Taylor added 57 for the sixth wicket and ground his way to a fifth career hundred and his second off the Middlesex attack this summer. His unbeaten 106 here followed his 206 not out against them at Grace Road in May.
In the past three seasons the former England Under-19 batsman has amassed 483 runs against Middlesex at an amazing average of 161. The Leicestershire innings then tailed off badly when Roland-Jones made good use of the second new ball to claim three wickets for two runs from 26 balls either side of the lunch interval.
He got Henderson to edge behind on 31 before trapping Nathan Buck (one) lbw and having Matthew Hoggard (four) caught by Shaun Udal. He finished with 4 for 52 and Pedro Collins 4 for 72, yet neither of them could dislodge the obdurate Taylor who marched off with a smile after his 230-ball study in concentration.