Gregory and Overton put MCC in command

MCC 332 (Clarke 89, Duckett 69, Harris 3-49, Patel 3-83) and 145 for 7 (Lyth 42) lead Middlesex 179 (Gregory 5-32, Overton 4-37) by 298 runs

Lewis Gregory and Craig Overton reprised the form that helped to carry Somerset to the brink of their maiden Championship title last summer, as they shared nine wickets between them to secure MCC a sizeable first-innings lead on the second day of their Champion County fixture against Middlesex in Abu Dhabi.

By the close of play, however, Middlesex had themselves fought back with the ball, reducing MCC to 145 for 7 - an overall lead of 298 - with Harry Podmore leading the line with three wickets.

Middlesex had resumed their first innings on 9 for 1 in reply to MCC's 332 all out, but struggled to make headway against a Somerset-dominated attack, for whom the spinner Jack Leach made the first breakthrough, when Tom Helm was bowled for 15.

It was Gregory, however, who did the bulk of the early damage to Middlesex's prospects, adding three quick wickets to his overnight scalp of Sam Robson to reduce the champions to 68 for 5.

Middlesex's fortunes were boosted by Dawid Malan, who top-scored with 56, and John Simpson, who made 49 in a sixth-wicket stand of 98. But Malan was trapped lbw by Overton, who then had James Franklin caught behind two balls later for a duck.

Simpson fell in a similar fashion ten runs later, as Gregory completed his five-wicket haul, and the tail came meekly, with Overton accounting for Podmore and Ravi Patel in consecutive deliveries.

With a significant lead of 153 in the bank, MCC were able to take the early losses of Alex Lees and Tom Alsop in their stride, as Podmore trapped both men lbw in the same over, but when Ben Duckett and Joe Clarke were removed in quick succession by James Harris, the score was a dicey 49 for 4.

Podmore added his third when Ben Cox fell for 13, but Adam Lyth's 42 carried the lead past 250, before Gregory and Overton reprised their bowling partnership with some enterprising hitting to ensure MCC finished the day back in command.