Gloucestershire v Middlesex, Bristol, 2nd day May 5, 2011

Rogers and Dexter lead solid Middlesex reply

Middlesex 296 for 4 v Gloucestershire 358

Australian Chris Rogers scored 87 as Division Two leaders Middlesex reached 296 for 4 in reply to Gloucestershire's 358 on the second day's play at Bristol.

Rogers, who made a habit of making big scores against Gloucestershire during his days with Northamptonshire and Derbyshire, including a career-best 319 at Northampton in 2006, struck 15 boundaries in his 123-ball innings before he was caught behind driving at Liam Norwell.

Scott Newman (47) and Dan Housego (40) shared in stands of 116 and 53 with Rogers, and Middlesex's control was strengthened by a fourth-wicket partnership of 89 between Dawid Malan (45) and skipper Neil Dexter (56 not out).

Gloucestershire started the day on 302 for 6 and the quick loss of two wickets suggested a fourth batting point would probably be out of reach. Will Gidman departed to the third ball of the morning when he was caught behind by John Simpson off Toby Roland-Jones, having not added to his overnight 67.

Four overs later, Jon Lewis fell to an acrobatic catch by Newman at point, which gave Roland-Jones his fifth wicket of the innings. However, a partnership of 41 between Jon Batty and David Payne guided Gloucestershire past 350. Batty had progressed to 27, including five off-side boundaries, before he was caught behind cutting at a delivery from Tim Murtagh. The innings ended in the next over when Gareth Berg uprooted Norwell's off stump.

Rogers and Newman guided Middlesex through to 22 without loss at lunch, although Newman was fortunate to survive a waist-high chance to Will Gidman at third slip off Lewis. The opening pair flourished after the interval with Rogers, in particular, quick to cut anything short to the boundary.

The stand was broken in the 31st over when Newman pushed forward and edged Lewis to wicketkeeper Batty. It became 169 for 2 when Rogers was dismissed by Norwell and 194 for 3 when Housego was caught behind off Will Gidman.

Malan and Dexter continued to score freely to set up the possibility of Middlesex establishing a significant first-innings advantage. Malan was dropped on 40 when Richard Coughtrie failed to hold a skied drive off Norwell as he ran around to midwicket from mid-on.

But Malan had added just five more runs when he became Batty's fourth victim behind the stumps, this time off Norwell. By then, Dexter had reached a 76-ball half-century, with eight fours, and the Middlesex captain will be hoping to lead his side into a commanding position when play resumes.