Middlesex v Glamorgan, Lord's, 3rd day April 17, 2010

Malan and Strauss make Glamorgan work

Middlesex 160 and 187 for 4 v Glamorgan 315 and 219

Middlesex found some batting backbone after a woeful start to the season to ensure Glamorgan were made to work hard in their search of a first victory at Lord's since 1954. Dawid Malan ended six runs away from a hundred, but the loss of Andrew Strauss in the final hour of the day was a major blow with the England captain having looked set for a hundred after adding 143 for the third wicket to raise hopes of chasing 375.

Strauss hadn't faced a ball by the time Middlesex lost their first two wickets and was understandably cautious in his approach before advancing to a 98-ball half century. He rarely looked like getting out until his rash attempt at a slog-sweep against Jamie Dalrymple (who bowled in both cap and sunglasses). There was the occasional play-and-miss - this is April, after all - especially from the Pavilion End where there was extra bounce for the seamers, but after an uncertain start against Worcestershire Strauss is back to the day job.

A three-day finish looked on the cards when Glamorgan made inroads with the new ball on a surface that has offered something throughout. The impact of not being able to use the heavy roller once a match has begun is certainly being felt in the early stages of the season as life isn't squeezed out of the surfaces. It shows up those whose techniques are not up to scratch.

Scott Newman's horror start to his Middlesex career continued when he was pinned lbw by James Harris for a duck, his fourth single-figure score in a row. It was a lovely piece of bowling from Harris, who appeared unhindered by the leg injury which restricted him to seven overs in the first innings, as he slanted the ball across the left hander before bring one back. Newman, though, was all over the place.

Sam Robson didn't last long before he edged low to second slip against some outswing from David Harrison to bag a pair and leave the score 1 for 2. But slowly Strauss and Malan weathered the toughest period and as the shine disappeared and the sun continued to blaze down conditions started to ease.

Malan was the more aggressive to begin with, while Strauss was content to play watchfully and showed good judgement outside off stump. Malan's fifty came off 94 balls with nine boundaries and Strauss then kick-started his effort by twice stepping down the pitch to loft Dean Cosker straight down the ground.

When Strauss fell, Malan became the senior partner and his earlier hard work paid off as he was able to cash in one some loose deliveries. He didn't managed a hundred last year, but has begun this campaign in promising form after top-scoring in the defeat to Worcestershire last week.

Adam London had a tough start to his innings when he was crashed in the helmet by a Harrison bouncer and survived a huge appeal for a slip catch that was ruled a bump ball. However, he couldn't survive the day when he pushed forward to Cosker in the penultimate over and edged to slip.

Glamorgan were given some extra breathing space by stubborn lower-order resistance when it appeared their second innings would end in a hurry. Mark Wallace had produced his second useful innings of the match when he was caught behind off Gareth Berg's second ball of the day and three balls later Mark Cosgrove, who retired hurt with concussion yesterday, edged a good delivery to second slip without adding to his 17.

However, Cosker resisted impressively against the frontline pacemen and added 54 for the ninth-wicket with Harrison. Periods of defence were punctuated with fine off-side drives and it required spin to break the partnership when Harrison clubbed Shaun Udal to mid-on. Cosker was then left stranded one short of only his second half century in 164 first-class matches when Huw Waters pushed a gentle catch back to Tim Murtagh.

Andrew McGlashan is assistant editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on April 18, 2010, 17:48 GMT

    I agree about the problems for both London clubs, where it seems young players seem to get distracted from their focus on the game. Other sides seem able to nurture their younger players more effectively, but I don't know why...

  • Sean on April 18, 2010, 12:58 GMT

    Great victory for Glamorgan, the bowling was strong and our batting is gradually improving. A home victory in 2010 is our next obstacle.

    On paper we have a strongish bowling attack, Harris, Harrison and Waters (with Shantry to come in later on) - and the spinners, Cosker, Croft and Dalrymple with Allenby as the notable all rounder.

    Let's hope they maintain this consistency. Still waiting for Harris' 100th wicket too.

  • Ross on April 18, 2010, 10:09 GMT

    Stargazer: If we go into it accepting this is a(nother) transitional season then we can just enjoy what is good and not get too upset about what isn't. I'm still not convinced that Billy will really make it, and Compton had one good season in four so I'm not too upset by them going. Joyce last year was a much bigger loss. Morgan has said that his aim is to play Test cricket, so I'm hoping this season will be his breakthrough in the four day game, and we do have the major prospect Paul Stirling arriving later in the season. If Newman reproduces his Surrey form, Ace gets his head down and Malan and Simpson continue to develop we'll just about have enough batting I reckon. I agree Udal is a stop-gap, but the balance issue was worse last season when Karthik was our best bowler. It will be interesting to see how many wickets spinners generally get this year with the 'no-heavy roller' rule. At least the base is there behind the scenes now, and I think we are past the worst.

  • Mark on April 18, 2010, 6:25 GMT

    Allblue, I'm hearing the same, but two more good young batsmen (Godleman and Compton) went last winter, adding to the exodus. The seam attack is world class and, apart from Murtagh, all Test players, but I do worry about how much longer Shaun Udal will be able tgo play at the top level, quite apart from his causing a balance issue.

    As for Morgan... he averaged 24 last season and scored more than a quarter of his runs in a single, unbeaten century. Will his return make that much difference?

  • Ross on April 18, 2010, 5:05 GMT

    We must remember that Shah, Morgan and Dexter are to return to the batting line-up, although Morgan will be barely touching base before heading off to the World T20. When Pedro Collins arrives to join Finn, O'Brien and Murtagh that will give plenty of seam options, but Udal and Malan's part-timers leave the spin cupboard rather bare. I agree it looks like a tough season again, but at least the club has stabilised behind the scenes after the upheavals of a couple of years back so hopefully things should start to move forward again after years of regression.

  • Mark on April 17, 2010, 21:48 GMT

    All logic suggests that Middlesex will struggle to survive much past lunch.. If so, yet another tilt at promotion will stall on take-off. The attack is very strong on paper, but the batting is, for the fifth year running, struggling to give them runs to defend and the old problem of failing to finish off the opposition has come back to haunt them again. More batsmen have left in the close season and it is hard to see an improvement unless the side can hang on to players.

    This could be a long, hard season for the two London clubs, who are both beginning to look outclassed.

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