James Taylor and Andrew McDonald flay Middlesex
Middlesex 19 for 0 v Leicestershire 464 for 3 dec
James Taylor hit a brilliant double century and Australian Andrew McDonald a career best 176 in a record fourth-wicket partnership as Leicestershire took control of their County Championship game against Middlesex at Grace Road. Taylor and McDonald smashed 360 runs off 73 overs to take Leicestershire to an imposing 464 for 3 declared and earn the home side five batting bonus points for the first time this season.
Taylor finished on 206 not out off 271 balls while McDonald's 218-ball innings beat his previous best of 150 not out for Victoria against New South Wales three years ago. Middlesex then faced an awkward seven overs before the close following Matthew Hoggard's declaration but reached 19 without loss to trail by 445 at the end of the second day.
It was the fourth century of 20-year-old Taylor's career but his first at Grace Road, while for McDonald it was his second in consecutive Championship matches. Their fourth-wicket partnership beat the previous best of 290 between Peter Willey and Tim Boon - the current Leicestershire coach - against Warwickshire in 1984.
Leicestershire's performance was in stark contrast to their efforts in the last match against Glamorgan a few days ago when they were bowled out for 71 in their second innings. They had begun the second day of this match looking in some trouble on an overnight 23 for 2 but then proceeded to score 441 runs off 88 overs for the loss of just one wicket.
Middlesex toiled to make any impact with the ball and were not helped by some sloppy fielding throughout the day and the absence after lunch of seamer Iain O'Brien, who was unable to return to the field because of a suspected thigh muscle injury.
The only wicket claimed by Middlesex was that of opener Matthew Boyce, who was beaten and bowled by a perfect yorker from Gareth Berg an hour into the morning's play. Boyce was out for 42 but from that point on Taylor and McDonald dominated the day. Runs flowed at around four an over as the fourth-wicket pair flayed the Middlesex attack with the boundary count piling up.
Taylor, who shot to stardom last season scoring his maiden century against Middlesex at Southgate, clearly loves playing against them. He reached his century this time with a boundary off Shaun Udal - his 15th at that stage - off 138 balls. McDonald was equally severe with some glorious drives both sides of the wicket and despite using eight bowlers Udal was unable to prevent Leicestershire's march towards the 400-plus total.
McDonald reached his century off 158 balls with 13 fours and Taylor's double century arrived off 267 balls with 27 fours. Soon after that Hoggard called a halt with Taylor on 206 having faced 271 balls and hit 28 fours and McDonald on 176, which included 22 boundaries. It was a magnificent effort from the home side and the partnership was the fourth highest for any wicket for them in a Championship match.