Batsmen give Glamorgan complete control
Glamorgan 517 for 8 v Middlesex 150
There was barely a moment on the second day in which Glamorgan relinquished their strengthening grip on this match, and by the close of play their lead had stretched to an imposing 367. The feebleness of Middlesex's batting effort yesterday - taking nothing away from James Harris's well-earned five-for - was thrown into stark relief by the ease with which Glamorgan's batsman went about their business on the second day to reach 517 for 8 - their highest total at Lord's, beating the 505 all out two seasons ago.
Gareth Rees and William Bragg swelled their patient stand for the second wicket, begun yesterday afternoon, to 140 before they were parted, after which Ben Wright's dashing hundred and some resolute batting from the lower order demoralised Middlesex even further.
Middlesex appeared to give themselves something to fight for with two quick wickets on either side of lunch, but Glamorgan counter-attacked in fine style through Wright and wicketkeeper Mark Wallace's rapid 119-run stand for the fifth wicket. Wright, in particular, looked keen and able to take charge, bursting out of the blocks to raise his half-century from just 46 deliveries.
After losing his partner for a breezy 46, Wright slowed down in the company of Harris, who nudged and chipped his way to 41 - out of a stand of 60 - before he was bowled swiping at a Jamie Dalrymple offspinner. Wright shrugged off the setback to reach his hundred from the 127th ball he faced, but then top-edged a pull at his 128th to be easily caught by Scott Newman at mid-on.
Glamorgan's lead had already passed 250 by that stage, and there was to be no respite as Robert Croft and Graham Wagg eased their way through a 101-run partnership at better than four an over. Wagg became the fourth batsmen of the innings to pass 50, racing to the mark from 66 deliveries, and had swung his way merrily to an innings worth 63 that included nine fours and a six before he played one shot too many to Dexter, driving straight to mid-off. The dismissal came moments before stumps and Alviro Petersen will now have the pleasure of considering whether or not to declare overnight, his team in total control.
Middlesex's best chance of gaining a foot-hold in this match had come in the morning when, under mostly grey skies, the ball had nipped around once more and both Rees and Bragg were beaten outside off stump in the opening spells of Gareth Berg and Corey Collymore. The edge never came, however, and after 40 minutes, Dexter turned to Toby Roland-Jones and Tim Murtagh in the hope of forcing a breakthrough.
Bragg, who had been so strong through cover point on Thursday afternoon, showed that he also has a good pull shot, going for the stroke even with two men out at deep square and long leg, and using it to good effect as he put Murtagh away with authority to move into the 80s. He fell against the run of play shortly afterwards to the same bowler, the seamer getting one to move back into his pads down the slope to dismiss him lbw for 87.
Murtagh was at least more consistent in line and length than he had been yesterday evening, and bowled much straighter - particularly after the wicket. The wicket breathed new life into an attack about which there is an undeniable sameness and who thus require such moments of inspiration. Murtagh found an extra yard and at the end of an hour-long spell then prised Rees from the crease in similar fashion to the previous dismissal, the Umpire upholding an appeal after the left-hander had been caught on the crease and pinged on the pad in front of middle twenty minutes before lunch.
Mike Powell departed to the second ball after the interval, getting a feather on one that left him off the pitch, and, having reduced Glamorgan to 230 for 5, there was still hope for Middlesex to limit the damage. Any such ambitions dissipated steadily over the course of the afternoon, and Middlesex now face a Herculean task if they are to salvage a draw from this game.
Liam Brickhill is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo