Malan ton puts Middlesex in charge
Northamptonshire 276 and 22 for 0 v Middlesex 479 for 8 dec
Dawid Malan struck a brilliant century as Middlesex took control on the third day of their top-of-the-table clash against Northamptonshire in Division Two of the County Championship at Wantage Road. Malan made a fantastic 113 off 170 balls including 17 fours and Ollie Rayner blasted 57 off 48 deliveries as Middlesex declared on 479 for 8 - their highest total this season.
James Middlebrook took 5 for 123 for Northants, who then survived nine overs in the evening to close on 22 without loss with a deficit of 181 runs to make up.
Middlesex began the day on 149 for 2, 127 runs behind their opponents, with their captain Chris Rogers and nightwatchman Toby Roland-Jones both resuming on 3. Rogers was to go past 50 off 82 balls with a four through mid-wicket off Lee Daggett and Roland-Jones was to make his highest score for Middlesex.
He went past his previous best total of 26, but he was to perish on 28 when he dragged Middlebrook's first delivery, in the 64th over, onto his stumps. Middlebrook was to strike again when Rogers, who had moved on to 55, was well caught by Northants captain Andrew Hall at slip.
There was a flashpoint before lunch when David Lucas gestured towards a group of spectators who sarcastically applauded him for stopping a Malan drive at mid-off after he had previously misfielded in the same position.
The visitors were on 244 for 4 at the interval, but they lost Jamie Dalrymple for 40 when he was caught by Daggett, running from long leg, off Chaminda Vaas. However, by this point they had already passed Northants' total to take the lead before Malan reached 50 off 110 balls.
Resuming after tea on 371 for 5, Middlesex wicketkeeper John Simpson went cheaply for 24 in the fifth over of the evening when he launched Vaas to Alex Wakely at deep square leg. Malan then kicked on to complete the seventh first-class century of his career and his second of this season off 165 balls with a four through third man off Daggett.
But he finally had to walk when he feathered Middlebrook him to Northants wicketkeeper David Murphy. Rayner then smashed an explosive half-century off just 43 balls but Middlebrook had his 10th first-class five-wicket haul when he was caught behind by Murphy just before the visitors declared.
A rain delay meant the loss of three overs but Rob Newton and Stephen Peters survived until the close and will resume tomorrow on 14 and six respectively.