Late wickets keep interest alive
Glamorgan 505 and 94 for 4 (Dalrymple 22*, Shantry 3*) lead Middlesex 414 for 8 dec (Hughes 118, Malan 88, Dexter 72, Kruger 4-85) by 185 runs
This match needed a session dominated by the bowlers to keep interest alive. It found one as Middlesex reduced Glamorgan to 94 for 4 at the close of the third day and the home side have a chance of a far from insurmountable run chase. To add some extra spice, Jamie Dalrymple remains at the crease having been made to feel uncomfortable.
Dalrymple is certainly not flavour of the month among some of the Middlesex players and was given plenty of verbals by Danny Evans, who had to be warned to calm down by umpire Ian Gould after repeatedly following through and chirping at the end of his run. He will be desperate not to lose, but Glamorgan could find themselves in trouble if their only thought is a draw.
When Shaun Udal declared 91 behind 18 wickets had fallen in eight sessions, but Mick Hunt, the Lord's groundsman, said he was pleased with the amount of carry for so early in the season - a suggestion, perhaps, that the bowling hadn't quite been up to the mark.
Two bowlers, though, showed that success was possible with Garnett Kruger improving from a poor second day to claim four wickets and Tim Murtagh producing an impressive opening burst to remove both Glamorgan openers. Alan Richardson, who has bowled well throughout the game, finally collected his first wicket shortly before the close when he caught Michael Powell on the crease, shortly after Powell had been dropped by substitute Adam London.
The early signs for Glamorgan had been that they would be in for a day of leather chasing, but that changed during a productive burst by Kruger from the Nursury End. Kruger is the county's first dalliance into the Kolpak market and his performance on the second day had been far from what is needed by a senior quick.
However, Kruger's innings turned around when Phillip Hughes dragged a cut onto leg stump having added 18 to his overnight score. Hughes had scored so many runs with that shot that it brought a gasp when one failed, and Kruger was fortunate that this one hadn't whistled to the boundary as well, but he left to warm applause from the Middlesex members who were happy to forget he'll be facing England in a couple of months.
Neil Dexter had started fluently, moving past his half century off 110 balls, but he fell in Kruger's next over when a top-edged pull lobbed to first slip and suddenly Glamorgan had an opening. Eoin Morgan, another of the quintuplet of left-handers at the top of the order, hit some sparkling boundaries, but just when he was set to take advantage of the surface he was trapped leg before by David Harrison.
Kruger, who improved the longer he bowled, made further inroads when he jagged one back into the pads of Ben Scott - although there was some doubt over the height - and then had Gareth Berg neatly caught, low down, at first slip as he drove at an outswinger.
At 311 for 6, Middlesex weren't safe from the follow-on, and may have struggled if Udal hadn't been dropped by Adam Shantry at long leg on 7, but Dawid Malan was playing a compact innings to eliminate the danger of batting again. It is an important season for Malan after he caught the headlines in Twenty20 cricket last year and now the interest will be if he can consolidate in the four-day game. He looked set to make the game's fourth hundred (and the fourth by a left-hander) when he pulled his hamstring running a three and in the next over guided a cut into the hands of gully.
Udal's declaration, a pleasing sign that he didn't want to waste time with a couple of tailenders, was followed by Murtagh's incisive opening burst. After learning from the first innings he had a third man early on and Mark Cosgrove picked him out, then Gareth Rees was pinned leg before. For the second time in the game Ben Wright failed to build on a neat start and dragged a pull into his stumps off Berg and Glamorgan had the wobbles.
Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor at Cricinfo