Lord's, April 12 - 15, 2015, LV= County Championship Division One
298 & 401/8d
(T:519) 181 & 300/7

Match drawn


Sun shines for Read as Notts stroll

Chris Read's rapid unbeaten century at Lord's confirmed Nottinghamshire's superiority in a match where they have gradually worn down Middlesex

Middlesex 181 and 57 for 1 need a further 462 to beat Nottinghamshire 298 and 401 for 8 dec (Read 101*, J Taylor 61)
Chris Read has made dashing batting interventions in times of Nottinghamshire crisis more often than he can remember. His rapid unbeaten century at Lord's was made of different stuff, confirming Nottinghamshire's superiority in a match where they have gradually worn down Middlesex.
Nothing delights admirers of pure wicketkeeping talent more than the sight of Read making one of those characteristic batting interventions when he seems to have swallowed the nation's entire supply of vitamin pills. He did not make a Championship century last season but still averaged 43 and, indeed, his first-class average remains a couple ahead of the latest keeper to be favoured by England, Jos Buttler.
The tea lead was intimidating enough - 446 - and Read's half-century still not gathered in; Notts' decision to bat on seemed unlikely to raise much interest. His intervention was also delayed until No. 8 because of a nightwatchman: Will Gidman. But he made sparkling use of a blissfully sunny day at Lord's, amassing a second fifty in only 19 balls as Vernon Philander fed him the strike, taking 22 off one over from Paul Stirling. Those watching suddenly perked into life again.
"It wasn't quite what I was expecting at tea," Read said. "The plan was to come out, play positively and see where we could get to but the innings kind of snowballed. Before I knew it I had 88 on the board and Vernon said 'you only need 12 so you may as well hang around for another over or two and see what you can do.'"
Read carved and sliced with the rapidity of a kitchen assistant tearing into the Sunday lunch vegetables. One imagines he could divide a cucumber into 20 equal pieces in a matter of seconds. His hundred came up with a couple of dapper twos, no weariness in his 36-year-old legs, runs stolen from by-now-disillusioned Middlesex fielders and, at the end of the over, he kept running - this time towards the Lord's pavilion. Middlesex's target: 519.
There were malcontents around Lord's who did not fancy them to make 59. Their middle order is not exactly a thing of resolve. They soon lost Sam Robson, too, the rejected England opener falling lbw for 0 to Jake Ball, but the two Nicks, Compton and Gubbins, stabilised matters by the close. They then wandered off for an end-of-season awards function: seems a bit premature to call off the season?.
Presumably, Middlesex must manage on the final day without Dawid Malan, who fractured a finger when diving in the slips on Sunday . The pitch is flat, the weather set fair and prolonged resistance is possible. It must be a comfortable existence being housed at Lord's, perhaps too comfortable. They will look to Compton to stiffen their resolve.
Nottinghamshire are confident enough about their fast-bowling resources to have sent Andy Carter on loan to Glamorgan, for whom he snaffled four Leicestershire wickets in 21 balls, and where he will seek to prove that taking time to recover from a serious back injury does not make you injury prone. In his absence, Vernon Philander, Ball and Harry Gurney pose considerable threat.
Nottinghamshire resumed 218 ahead at 101 for 2 and it was slower going earlier in the day, especially for their allrounder, Gidman, a winter signing from Gloucestershire, who needed nine overs to add to his overnight 5 before a boundary off Steven Finn brought light relief. His pleasure did not last as he succumbed to the left-arm spin of Middlesex's captain Adam Voges and was smartly held at slip.
Hales' 37, from 80 balls, was also strikingly cautious as he seeks to prove himself an adaptable batsman in all formats. He was eventually unhinged by a lifter from Tim Murtagh. Samit Patel, reprieved at slip on 8, fell sweeping for 33. But first James Taylor and then, most emphatically, Read showed fewer inhibitions, Taylor reaching 61 when he fell leg-before to the offspin of Stirling. Read, who replaced him, was a veritable sunbeam as another 143 were added at six an over and he gladdened Nottinghamshire hearts once more.

David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo @davidkhopps

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LV= County Championship Division One