Middlesex v Gloucestershire, County Championship Lord's, 4th day

Dalrymple shuts door on Middlesex

Andrew McGlashan at Lord's

April 25, 2009

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Middlesex 414 for 8 dec and 94 for 3 (Hughes 65*) drew with Glamorgan 505 and 278 for 8 dec (Dalrymple 112, Croft 52) Scorecard

The extra motivation of playing against his former team brings the best out of Jamie Dalrymple. His second hundred for Glamorgan was the second he'd scored against Middlesex since his departure, and it buried any thoughts the home side had of an afternoon run chase after the visitors' middle-order wobble.

Dalrymple, not wanting to give his old team-mates a chance of victory, eventually left them 369 in 44 overs, but may have wished he'd been a little more attacking when they slipped to 31 for 3 shortly after tea. The fear of what Phillip Hughes could do was probably a reason why he didn't. In the end Middlesex survived comfortably enough as Hughes produced some powerful strokeplay to follow his hundred with an unbeaten 65, but they were the ones who'd started the day with serious thoughts of victory.

When Danny Evans removed Mark Wallace the lead was 245 with 76 overs remaining. On a pitch still full of runs and a top order including Hughes, Middlesex were right in with a chance of a favourable pursuit, but Dalrymple's determined century put paid to that. He reached his hundred off 184 balls to a gentle applause from some of the opposition.

Middlesex's early advances with halted by a stubborn effort from nightwatchman Adam Shantry before he edged a back-foot drive off Shaun Udal to slip. This was when the home side gave themselves a chance to press the issue as Evans produced his best spell of the match.

First he trapped Tom Maynard for a duck, although it was another decision from umpire Steve Garratt that left a batsman far from amused. Evans didn't care and still seemed to have plenty of pent up frustration remaining from the previous evening when he had been told to calm down by Ian Gould after some verbals to Dalrymple. The best way for a bowler to make his presence felt is with wickets and Evans struck another blow when he knocked back Mark Wallace's off stump from round the wicket.

Another quick blow and the victory chance was certainly on, but Dalrymple shut the door with a staunch innings. He kept the runs flowing, too, and was able to increase his strokeplay as Middlesex sensed their main chance had passed. Robert Croft, under pressure to justify his place, played an important role as well with a nuggety half-century. The pair added 124 for the eighth wicket to beat the Glamorgan record against Middlesex that was all of two days old, surpassing the 118 added by Wallace and David Harrison in the first innings.

Croft's dismissal brought the declaration and Harrison struck with the final ball before tea when he drew Billy Godleman into a loose drive outside off. Straight after the interval Neil Dexter was taken at second slip and when Shantry clipped Eoin Morgan's off stump the game was entirely safe.

Hughes, though, took advantage of some attacking fields to pepper the off side with his ridiculously strong cut shot to reach fifty off 53 balls. At one point Glamorgan tried to plug the game with two normal points and two in the deep, yet Hughes still threaded it to the boundary. If England's bowlers want to know where not to bowl at him, get a DVD of this match and stick it on repeat.

Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor at Cricinfo

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Andrew McGlashan Assistant Editor Andrew arrived at ESPNcricinfo via Manchester and Cape Town, after finding the assistant editor at a weak moment as he watched England's batting collapse in the Newlands Test. Andrew began his cricket writing as a freelance covering Lancashire during 2004 when they were relegated in the County Championship. In fact, they were top of the table when he began reporting on them but things went dramatically downhill. He likes to let people know that he is a supporter of county cricket, a fact his colleagues will testify to and bemoan in equal quantities.
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