Middlesex batting woes continue
Glamorgan 315 and 119 for 6 v Middlesex 160
Andrew Strauss managed a more useful hit-out than his double failure last week, but couldn't advance past 44 in another dismal Middlesex batting display as they slumped to 160 all out against Glamorgan at Lord's. David Harrison, with his first five-wicket haul in four years, and Jim Allenby shared nine wickets as Middlesex fell short of the follow-on by six runs before Glamorgan limped to 119 for 6 after batting again, a lead of 274.
In their opening match against Worcestershire, Middlesex succumbed for 126 and 169 on a lively surface and once again the line-up couldn't handle the movement on offer. Glamorgan even managed without the services of James Harris after his opening seven-over spell when he limped off with a leg injury. But the home side helped in their demise with some poor strokeplay. The quality of cricket hasn't been especially high throughout, although a spicy April wicket played its part.
Middlesex's batting line-up is desperately fragile at the moment without the services of Owais Shah and Eoin Morgan, who remain at the IPL, and the injured Neil Dexter who is out for six weeks after break a bone in his back when he slipped at home. Throw into the mix that a number of players haven't found form at the start of the campaign and it makes for a tough combination.
Strauss was a doubt for this match after being laid low by a stomach bug and although he recovered in time to take his place he still didn't quite look back his best during a 68-ball innings. There was the occasional confident boundary, particularly off his legs, but there is still work to do to find his normal fluency following the extended break afforded by missing the Bangladesh tour.
However, having fought hard to give himself a platform it will have been galling to drag into his stumps against the medium pace of Allenby. There remains plenty of time for Strauss to find his feet before England duty beckons again at the end of May, but from his county's point of view they desperately needed a major innings from him here.
Scott Newman edged a wide delivery to third slip where Mark Cosgrove held on at the second attempt as he tumbled backwards and Sam Robson was pinned lbw by a full slower-ball from Harrison who didn't let a poorly-timed nosebleed impact his performance.
Strauss and Dawid Malan built a steady partnership of 50 for the third wicket before Allenby changed the match with an accurate spell of swing bowing from the Nursery End and removed both left-handers via edges into the stumps. After lunch Harrison was back in the action when he removed Adam London and he claimed his fourth scalp as Gareth Berg was caught in front.
John Simpson, the young wicketkeeper, at least applied himself, showing a straight bat and some good judgement but was removed by Dean Cosker during a brief spell of spin. Harrison completed his first five-wicket haul for four years when Iain O'Brien had a flat-footed poke outside off stump and the innings ended in suitably soft fashion when Tim Murtagh steered a catch to gully.
However, with Harris being injured Dalrymple opted to bat again and extend the lead of 155 rather than put his former team back in. Cosgrove took a blow on the helmet from Steven Finn and despite resuming his innings was then forced to retire hurt as he felt dizzy. Middlesex struck back during a long final session as Berg removed Gareth Rees and Dalrymple to sharp slip catches and O'Brien trapped Ben Wright lbw.
Still the wickets fell as Finn, who found considerable bounce, trapped Allenby half forward and Murtagh bagged himself a couple to keep the lead within sight. But the way Middlesex have been batting, Glamorgan probably have enough already.
Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo