Murtagh cleans up Glamorgan with seven
A persistent afternoon spell from Tim Murtagh earned him career-best figures of 7 for 95 to help Middlesex to a scrawny eight-run lead over Glamorgan on the third day at Lord's
Middlesex 308 and 56 for 0 (Strauss 33*, Godleman 21*) lead Glamorgan 300 (Dalrymple 80, Murtagh 7-95) by 64 runs
Steven Finn removed Jamie Dalrymple for 80
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A persistent afternoon spell from Tim Murtagh earned him career-best figures of 7 for 95 to help Middlesex to a scrawny eight-run lead over Glamorgan on the third day at Lord's. At stumps, Andrew Strauss and Billy Godleman had extended Middlesex's lead to 64, and any hopes Glamorgan have of breaking their 54-year duck at Lord's diminished by the ball.
Murtagh was again well supported by Steven Finn who bowled rather more than his captain would have liked, owing to Chris Silverwood hobbling off midway through his 10th over. He was later spotted on cautionary crutches behind the pavilion, cheerfully announcing "I'll be back", and for all Murtagh and Finn's persistence, Middlesex missed his explosiveness.
Mike Powell reached a 75-ball fifty early in the day, but Finn produced a beauty from the Nursery End, climbing and slanting down the slope away from Powell who poked at it tentatively, without the conviction which had earned him 45 of his 50 runs yesterday evening. Dalrymple, however, was far more secure outside his off stump - though he survived a confident appeal from Finn - twice cracking Gareth Berg for four square of the wicket to reach 50 from 105 balls.
At the other end, Mark Wallace rode his luck but took advantage of Murtagh's occasional waywardness, gliding him through extra cover with ease to take Glamorgan to 173 for 4 at lunch. After he interval, the pair reached their hundred stand and thoughts turned to the prospect of Dalrymple reaching three figures against his former club, on his former ground. Not since Matthew Maynard in 1985 has a British-born Glamorgan batsman made a hundred on debut, but the record remained intact when Dalrymple mis-hooked Finn to Murtagh who took an excellent, tumbling catch at fine-leg.
The gates were open. Wallace departed to a re-energised Murtagh, feeling for one outside his off stump, before Robert Croft was beaten for pace by Gareth Berg, becoming his maiden first-class victim. Glamorgan weren't quite finished, however, with Ryan Watkins and David Harrison adding a quickfire 48 for the last wicket. Harrison's six fours weren't all as agricultural as his position at No.11 should imply, carting Murtagh for successive fours and timing the ball sweetly.
Murtagh had the last laugh, Strauss holding a simple catch head-high at slip to dismiss Harrison, and Strauss was immediately into his stride with the bat. Jason Gillespie conceded just six runs from a four-over burst from the pavilion end, but Strauss laid into Wharf in the dying light, unleashing a cover-drive before cutting him with immense power square of the wicket.
He played beautifully, regardless of the Glamorgan bowlers' persistence in dropping it short, and more easy runs beckon tomorrow morning with the first Test against New Zealand looming so soon.
Will Luke is a staff writer at Cricinfo