Career-best ton for Malan punishes Derbyshire
Middlesex 397 for 9 v Derbyshire 252
Dawid Malan scored a career-best 143 and his first Championship hundred of the summer to move Middlesex into the driving seat at Lord's against Division Two rivals Derbyshire.
The left-hander batted just over five hours in helping the host side reach 397 for 9 at the mid-point of the game for an overall lead of 145, with one first-innings wicket remaining.
Poor form and a niggling hamstring injury caused Malan to suffer an horrendous first half to the campaign in which he mustered only 234 runs in nine starts with a dismal season's best of 45. But, in sultry conditions, Malan showed improved levels of patience and composure to crack 18 boundaries in a 262-ball stay which also helped his side garner four batting bonus points.
Derbyshire used eight bowlers - with Greg Smith and Jonathan Clare the pick with three wickets apiece - and toiled hard throughout to pick up nine wickets on the day, including that of Malan four overs from the close.
Malan featured in a useful stands with Sam Robson, who contributed his third score of 94 of the summer, and Tim Murtagh as the hosts successfully chased down a fourth batting bonus point with six balls to spare. All this came after a disappointing start for the home side who, having posted 119 for the first wicket, began to lose wickets at steady intervals.
Opening batsman Scott Newman perished for 59 when his late decision to pad up to a Clare off-cutter saw him go lbw and, eight overs later, Chris Rogers went for 11 against his former side when chasing a wide drive - only to edge to wicketkeeper Luke Sutton.
Soon after lunch Robson, having looked in little or no trouble for 184 balls, went after another wide delivery from Ross Whiteley to slice a drive into the hands of gully. Home skipper Neil Dexter found a leading edge to give Smith a comfortable return catch and Jamie Dalrymple clipped a leg-stump half-volley straight to midwicket to make it 262 for 5.
Malan teamed up with John Simpson to post the Middlesex 300 before Simpson feathered a good ball from Mark Turner to Sutton, then Tom Smith was clean bowled after pushing outside the line of namesake Greg's arm-ball.
Malan and Murtagh (19) regrouped but, late in the day, Murtagh chipped back another return catch to Greg Smith and Malan, having beaten his career-best by one, flat-batted a Clare Long hop straight to Wayne Madsen at backward point and departed to a rousing reception.