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Vithushan Ehantharajah at Lord's
May 5, 2013
Surrey 338 (Burns 114, Murtagh 3-54) and 85 for 1 drew with Middlesex 166 (de Bruyn 3-32) and 514 for 8 dec. (Rogers 214, Robson 129)
A day that could have provided a potential nail-bitter petered out into a draw but not before Middlesex captain Chris Rogers wowed the crowd as he scored a double century of contrasting batsmanship.
Beginning the day on 113 not out, he reached his ninth double century of his career with some astonishing hitting that would have John Inverarity sitting back in his chair with a quiet, yet visible satisfaction.
"Mickey Arthur sent me a text last night saying 'well batted - save some runs for the summer'," a content Rogers revealed, Fosters can in hand. While you might question his drink of choice - Corey Collymore had a pint of stout - there's no questioning the wisdom in Australia plumping for an opening batsmen more comfortable in his own skin than many. That being said, he did make a run back to the dressing room for a cap when he was needed on camera.
"I'm in a good place and my game feels in pretty good order," he told ESPNcricinfo. "But to be fair, the pitch was pretty flat when we were asked to bat on it again. Maybe we were lucky in that respect but you've still got to make things count."
As it stands he averages over 50 in first-class games at three of the five venues that England and Australia will frequent later this summer. But even the familiarity, especially here on what has been his home since 2011, is much ado about nothing.
"It's a nice thing to have that familiarity with the grounds but it'll mean nothing in the Ashes," Rogers said. "Mostly because I'll have a whole new set of nerves; I've been waiting for the opportunity to play Test cricket again for so long that now it's just a case of taking it. I've got to be honest, it's a chance I never thought I'd have again."
It was a quite astonishing climb to 200 from his starting point this morning. The remaining 69 runs came off just 53 balls and featured 11 boundaries. The hundred partnership he shared with Dawid Malan, who made 47, took 76 balls and looked like it might afford Middlesex enough time and runs to go all out to take 10 Surrey wickets.
Having left the short ball yesterday, Rogers started taking them on, even against Dernbach, whose skiddier bouncers had Rogers twice ducking for cover. When he dispatched Tim Linley for six over square leg - the first maximum of the match - it took him to 175 and past his previous highest score for Middlesex. Another six, this time of Zander de Bruyn, took him to 194 before he went on to bring up his double ton.
Starting, essentially, at 111 for 2 this morning, Middlesex lost Steven Finn, though not before the newly fashioned nightwatchman had driven Jade Dernbach quite lavishly through the offside. Dawid Malan strode to the crease and, together with Rogers, ticked the score over; picking up singles with regularity, before something within Rogers stirred.
But when Rogers, Malan and Paul Stirling, for 1 after his first innings golden duck, went before lunch, so did the idea that Middlesex would give Surrey any kind of carrot to chase. Rogers admitted the thought of giving Surrey even a whiff of victory was something he wouldn't entertain.
Post lunch was an odd mish-mash of prodding, swiping and the occasional planting of Vikram Solanki into the grandstand. After a bit of early meandering, Dexter freed his arms to hit the Solanki - whose three overs cost him 34 runs - for three sixes in an over. The first brought up Dexter's half-century; the second took Middlesex past 500.
When Dexter and then Roland-Jones holed out, in a seven ball period that saw Rory Burns and Arun Harinath claim their maiden first class wickets, Rogers called his side in on 514 for 8 - Middlesex's highest score against Surrey at Lord's.
With Surrey 85 for 1, Malan and Stirling bowling in tandem to recalibrate Middlesex's over rate to avoid a penalty, Rogers and Smith - unbeaten on 48 - declared that was that.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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