Middlesex 283 for 7 v Gloucestershire 459 for 9 dec
England Test captain Andrew Strauss failed again with the bat, leaving Chris Rogers fighting almost single-handedly to save Middlesex from following on in their County Championship Second Division match against Gloucestershire at Uxbridge. Rogers, capped once by Australia, hit an unbeaten 125 as Middlesex, replying to Gloucestershire's imposing 459 for 9 declared, struggled to 283 for 7 - still 27 runs away from making the visitors bat again.
Strauss, who has only one more game - a guest appearance for Somerset in next week's tour match - to rediscover his form before the Test series against India starts, had to wait until an hour before lunch on the third day to get to the crease. He got off the mark first ball with a thick edge behind point for two but faced only six more balls before Jon Lewis trapped him leg before with a delivery that swung into him. He has now scored 20, 4, 0, 3 and 2 in his last five innings.
It was a clever piece of bowling by Lewis, who has dismissed Strauss cheaply in six of his last eight innings for Middlesex against Gloucestershire, and completed a good morning for the fast-medium bowler who won a solitary England cap in 2006. Lewis had earlier reached his 13th first-class 50 and gone on to a career-best 71, beating his previous highest score of 62, made against Worcestershire at Cheltenham 12 years ago.
He had joined Ian Cockbain in an eighth-wicket stand of 97 which ended when Cockbain was caught behind off Corey Collymore for 127, scored off 233 balls and containing 16 fours and a six. Collymore also spread-eagled Lewis' stumps but not before he had struck his swashbuckling 71 off 79 balls with six fours and three sixes.
There was to be no more joy for Lewis as Rogers, whose innings featured 15 fours and two sixes in 230 balls, shared successive partnerships of 71, 50 and 86 with Sam Robson, Scott Newman and Neil Dexter. But Middlesex ran into trouble after all three of them got out to poor shots.
Robson was caught behind for 38, carving at a short ball from Ian Saxelby, Newman (23) slapped Jack Taylor to mid-off and Dexter (41) pulled Saxelby to deep square leg. Three more wickets went down for seven runs in 19 balls late on, but Tim Murtagh held out with Rogers until the close.