Alviro Petersen posted a Lord’s century, while Haseeb Hameed continued his excellent form with an impressive 89 to help Lancashire dominate day one against Middlesex today.
The Specsavers County Championship leaders, who elected to bat after opting to toss, closed on 298-3 from 96 overs.
And it was largely down to 19-year-old opener Hameed, whose stock is rising quickly, despite falling short of his second century in four days, and ex-South Africa international Petersen, 35.
This was Petersen’s second Championship century of the season, and he will resume tomorrow on 105 not out from 164 balls.
It was also the 41st of his first-class career and his first at Lord’s. Steven Croft is 34 not out.
Hameed scored his maiden first-class century last Thursday during the final day of the Red Rose’s draw against Warwickshire at Emirates Old Trafford, and he was looking good for two in two innings.
Elegantly watchful during his 221-ball stay at the crease, Hameed even pulled Toby Roland-Jones for six over long-leg during the afternoon session.
He shared partnerships of 36 with Tom Smith, 65 inside 23 overs with Luke Procter either side of lunch and 97 inside 33 with Petersen either side of tea, with the latter only posting one boundary in his first 50 runs on a slowish pitch.
With pre-game joint leaders Yorkshire not in Championship action this week, the three batting bonus points secured meant Lancashire edged ahead at the top of Division One.
“We’re in a good position,” said Petersen. “It’s been a good day for us. The top three did really well to see out the first session and lay a good platform for us.
“I’ve always wanted to score a hundred at Lord’s, so it’s quite nice. But I can’t be satisfied with where we are as a team.
“We need to put in some more hard work tomorrow and make sure we get ourselves in a good position.
“You can always justify a good day when you put in another good day. We know they’ll come back tomorrow and look to take some wickets. If we don’t allow that and settle again, we can dominate the game.
“At this stage, 450 would be good. But we haven’t really talked about it. I’m sure tomorrow morning we’ll come up with plans.
“It’s important that we bat another session, and maybe up to tea, depending on how well we go.
“Once the ball gets soft and they have straight fields, the pitch is difficult to score on. The new ball does seam around and it can get you out, but you can also score quickly because it comes on.
“There’s something in it for the bowler, but it’s about remaining patient as a batter. If you look for too much, you can find yourself on the back foot quickly.”
Smith was the first wicket to go when he was trapped lbw by home captain James Franklin, the former New Zealand left-arm seamer who struck with only his fifth ball in the 15th over.
But Hameed and Procter, who both played nicely either side of the wicket, took the visitors beyond 100.
Procter hit four fours in his first 12 balls and settled quickly at the crease.
Unfortunately, he later fell five short of a fifty when he edged Tim Murtagh to Ollie Rayner at second slip, leaving Lancashire at 101-2 in the 38th over.
Hameed went to 50 for the fourth time this season, including last week’s ton, off 137 balls shortly after hitting his first first-class six.
Petersen also looked untroubled as Lancashire reached tea at 176-2 from 64 overs, with him 30 not out. By that time, Hameed had reached 80.
Unfortunately, Hameed fell in the 70th over, caught at first slip off Roland-Jones, with Sam Robson juggling the catch as Lancashire fell to 198-3.
Hameed was having to deal with a spell of short-pitched bowling at that juncture, including a gloved boundary over the slips to third-man. He fell three balls later.
“Haseeb hasn’t been playing for a couple of weeks now because of white ball cricket,” added Petersen.
“It’s good to see him come back. He played really, really well and deserved a hundred today.”
Petersen, Lancashire’s leading run-scorer in the Championship this season with 598, followed Hameed to 50 off 139 balls.
Croft was handed a life on 17 in the 78th over when he skied Rayner’s off-spin to cover having tried to go over the top. Thankfully, Paul Stirling put it down.
Petersen put his foot down in the latter stages of the day.
He lofted Rayner over the top of mid-on for four and then over mid-wicket for six next ball to move into the eighties in the 82nd over as Lancashire went beyond 250.
Petersen reached his hundred in the 94th over of the day with a single wide of mid-wicket, off 225 balls with four fours and a six included.
The pair brought up their century stand in the day’s last over.
Alviro Petersen completed an excellent 191 to underpin Lancashire’s 513 all out on day two at Lord’s today, but Middlesex’s batsmen responded strongly.
The Specsavers County Championship leaders posted their highest score since last July when they hit a mammoth 698-5 declared against Glamorgan at Colwyn Bay.
In that game, Petersen posted his career best 286.
Here, he was backed up Haseeb Hameed’s 89, an innings completed yesterday, and Liam Livingstone’s inventive and powerful 58 today. Captain Steven Croft also contributed 46.
Petersen and Livingstone shared 103 for the sixth wicket either side of lunch before Middlesex later replied with 146-1 from 44 overs, including 71 not out from opener Nick Gubbins.
This is not the ideal pitch for bowling. Middlesex’s bowlers struggled for the majority, and Lancashire will have to bowl extremely well to take the 19 more wickets they require.
Despite Lancashire’s dominance, Middlesex did show that wickets can fall quickly, however, by taking the visitors’ last five for 42 during the afternoon, although they were aided by the search for quick runs.
“We would have minded them being two, three or four down this evening so we can make tomorrow’s work a bit lighter,” said Croft.
“But we’re still in high spirits. It’s been a good day, and hopefully there might be assistance in the morning from overhead and with a little bit of seam.
“It’s well known that if there’s a bit above you, it does a bit at Lord’s. And we’ve got the right bowlers to extract that. If we get a couple of early wickets, it will set us up nicely for the rest of the day.
“If we do get a couple of wickets, we can keep the slips in and attack for a longer period of time.”
Petersen began the day on 105 not out and reached 150 off 241 balls before lunch, including eight fours and a six.
He later pulled Toby Roland-Jones in front of square for a second six, but he fell caught and bowled with the next ball as Lancashire fell to 477-7 in the 141st.
Having hit two sixes and 10 fours in 285 balls, he is now the third leading run-scorer in Division One 684 - behind only James Hildreth and Keaton Jennings.
In the previous over, Roland-Jones, Middlesex’s best bowler, had Livingstone well caught by James Fuller running back from mid-off.
Livingstone had reached 50 off 54 balls with nine fours.
Jordan Clark was trapped lbw by Roland-Jones with one that kept low, and Lancashire will hope uneven bounce becomes more obvious as the game progresses.
Neil Wagner and Kyle Jarvis were then both caught in the deep off Ollie Rayner’s off-spin. He finished with 4-120 from 35.5 overs to go with 4-122 from 31 for Roland-Jones.
Before lunch, Croft had fallen caught behind trying to reverse sweep Rayner’s first ball of the morning and Karl Brown was superbly caught by Fuller at square-leg sweeping.
Lancashire claimed three batting bonus points.
Middlesex reached 50-0 in the 19th over of their reply, which was largely untroubled, although Jarvis and Wagner bowled tidy new ball spells.
Matt Parkinson then made the breakthrough in the 22nd over when he had Sam Robson caught at slip by Livingstone, leaving the score at 59-1.
Unfortunately, that was Lancashire’s only breakthrough.
Left-handed Gubbins brought up his fifty off 95 balls and went on to share an unbroken second-wicket stand of 87 inside 23 overs with Stevie Eskinazi.
The latter will begin tomorrow’s third day on 43 not out in only his second first-class fixture.
“The more the game goes on, Parky will come into it more,” added Croft. “We saw quite a bit of spin early on.
“There’s not a great deal of pace in it, but it has done a bit when it’s cloudy and with the newer ball.
“We don’t want to let it fizzle out. There’s not many times you can put 500 on the board, so we want to make the most of it.
“It’s going to be tough, there’s no doubt about that. But there’s a massive carrot for us to win a game at Lord’s.”
Middlesex opener Nick Gubbins posted the first double century of his career to frustrate Lancashire on a lifeless pitch at Lord’s today.
With just one day of this Specsavers County Championship match to go, it is now almost certain that the Red Rose’s eighth fixture of the season will end in a draw.
In reply to Lancashire’s 513 all out, Middlesex advanced from 146-1 overnight to end a weather-affected day three on 419-5 from 111 overs, also including a maiden ton from Stevie Eskinazi.
There was no play beyond 4.30pm due to bad light and then rain.
This was Gubbins’ second first-class career century and second this season after scoring 109 against Somerset last month.
He had posted scores in the nineties three previous times.
The left-hander, who finished on 201 not out from 329 balls, started the day on 71 and was also followed to three figures by right-handed Eskinazi in only his second first-class appearance.
In his first appearance of the season, Eskinazi could not have hoped for a better pitch to bat on as he advanced to 106.
“That was a tough day,” said New Zealand overseas star Neil Wagner, who currently has figures of 1-83 from 29 overs.
“There’s not a lot in the wicket, and it makes it quite hard to get a result.
“We know that Lord’s is good to bat on, and I thought they batted well. They showed a lot of patience and played everything that we threw at them well.
“As a bowling unit, I thought we bowled quite well and asked questions for long periods of time.
“It was perfect batting conditions and they made the most of it. I don’t think we’ll take it too hard because we fought hard and showed good character on an unresponsive wicket.”
Gubbins reached 100 off 203 balls before lunch and Eskinazi off 175 after lunch. The latter even brought up his milestone with a slog-swept six against leg-spinner Matt Parkinson.
The pair completed a second-wicket stand of 208 inside 61 overs today before Eskinazi edged Kyle Jarvis to second slip after lunch, leaving the score at 267-2 in the 82nd over.
By that stage, Lancashire had taken the second new ball and were in the midst of their most successful period with the ball.
Eskinazi’s departure was the first of three wickets to fall for 42 as the hosts fell to 309-4 in the 92nd.
Wagner also had Dawid Malan caught at second slip by Smith with a ball that bounced a touch more than expected before Jordan Clark bowled Jon Simpson with the first ball of a new spell.
Jarvis, Lancashire’s most successful bowler, later had home captain James Franklin caught behind just before tea to keep alive hopes of a second bowling point.
That left Middlesex at 404-5 in the 107th over.
Unfortunately, Gubbins and Irishman Paul Stirling batted beyond the 110-over mark, leaving the Red Rose with only one bowling point.
Given the three for batting earlier in the match, they will end up with a total of nine points if and when the draw is confirmed.
Bad light stopped play immediately after Gubbins had reached 200 off 329 balls. Rain arrived shortly afterwards.
There was no play on the fourth and final day of Lancashire's Specsavers County Championship clash against Middlesex at Lord's due to the weather.
Lancashire will take nine points from this fixture.
Half-centuries from Middlesex’s top three engineered a commanding position for the Championship leaders against Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford. Having been surprisingly invited to bat first by Lancashire captain Steven Croft, they reached 258 for three, increasing their lead over Yorkshire from one to three points.
Under low clouds, Sam Robson and Nick Gubbins negotiated an impressive opening spell from Tom Bailey and Kyle Jarvis, but having played themselves in (both survived big lbw shouts from Jarvis), boundaries began to flow for both batsmen. Gubbins left well but also drove beautifully through the covers and down the ground and was severe whenever Lancashire strayed onto his pads. Shortly before Middlesex reached lunch 93 without loss, he reached an 89-ball half-century.
After a brief delay for a bad light after the break, Gubbins was the first man to fall, as he attempted to pull a short delivery from Jarvis, but - catching the ball high on the bat - could only lob up to midwicket, where Alviro Petersen took a simple catch. Gubbins had made 69, and an opening stand of 123 had finally been broken.
After the departure of Gubbins, Robson played with greater authority, reaching his half-century from 111 balls, and twice pulling Simon Kerrigan to the midwicket fence. All day he had driven well and flicked through midwicket sweetly, but he too fell when looking settled, an edged drive finding first slip off Kerrigan for 77. On 57, a full stretch Jos Buttler had been unable to hold on to a legside flick that eventually found the fence at fine leg.
Nick Compton and Dawid Malan picked up where Middlesex’s openers left off, sharing 97 either side of tea. Compton powerfully pulled his first ball through square-leg for four, but was becalmed thereafter, facing 29 consecutive dot balls. He grew into his innings, picking off Kerrigan with ease - including various flicks through midwicket as well as a swat down the ground for six.
Malan began his innings in fine style, cutting in front and behind square and driving through mid-on, but as conditions became trickier and the light murkier late in the day, he went into his shell, particularly against the new ball.
It was the new ball, and Jarvis, that did for Compton, bowled through the gate for 56 by one that nipped back. Malan, however, was joined by the watchful Stevie Eskinazi to shepherd the leaders to a second batting point and through to the close, which came seven overs early due to bad light. Malan finished the day unbeaten on 49.
While Middlesex named an unchanged team, Lancashire welcomed back Buttler to the Championship side for the first time since these two sides met in September 2014. At lunch, much to his surprise, the opener Haseeb Hameed became the youngest Lancashire player to be awarded his county cap since World War 2, when records began.
A remarkable, topsy-turvy day ended prematurely at Old Trafford with Lancashire’s sixth wicket pair battling to save the follow-on after a sensational opening spell from Toby Roland-Jones had left them 6-4.
In the morning session, Lancashire had taken the last seven Middlesex wickets for 69 to limit the visitors to 327 and, vitally in a tight title race, just three batting points. But Roland-Jones took four wickets in 29 balls, and Tim Murtagh took one to wrestle control back to the Division One leaders.
The pair started with three maidens, then Roland-Jones got one to lift and nip away from Haseeb Hameed, who could only edge to second slip. Luke Procter then drove hard at Murtagh but edged straight to gully, before Roland-Jones struck twice in an over, with Alviro Petersen well caught by John Simpson down the legside and Steven Croft bowled by a full ball.
Jos Buttler, playing his first Championship match since September 2014, came out and looked to counterattack, twice cover-driving beautifully, but soon fell in the same fashion as Petersen, with a leg glance, caught by Simpson, diving one-handed to his left.
From 32-5, Rob Jones and Liam Livingstone looked to rebuild. Jones was cautious, defending plenty, while Livingstone looked to counter-attack, punching Steven Finn down the ground for four. When bad light brought an early tea at 2.50pm, they had shared 25.
By 4.30, when the players left the field due to rain (they did not return), that stand had swelled to 70. Jones had grown into his innings, driving beautifully to reach the highest score of his three-match first-class career, while Livingstone had carted Ollie Rayner for four wide of long-on. Livingstone survived an lbw appeal from Murtagh on 26, but otherwise it was an assured stand, stymying more impressive Middlesex bowling.
Having started the day well set on 258-3, Middlesex had been bowled out for 327 by lunch.
After Dawid Malan completed an 109-ball half-century, Middlesex contrived to lose 3-10 runs in 39 balls. Malan became the fourth member of Middlesex’s top four to reach 50 but not kick on, as he tried to play Tom Bailey too late and chopped on, while Stevie Eskinazi was bowled through the gate by Kyle Jarvis. Simpson was caught at second slip, throwing his hands at a drive off Bailey.
The captain James Franklin was the not out batsman, guiding Middlesex to their third batting point with three balls to spare thanks to a four wide of long-on off Kerrigan, but the left-arm spinner dismissed both Rayner and Roland-Jones. Rayner prodded forward and was caught at slip, while Roland-Jones was bowled playing back.
In the final over before the scheduled break, Croft had Murtagh caught brilliantly at short leg by Rob Jones, diving to his left. The extra 15 minutes were taken and last man Finn was bowled by Kerrigan, who finished with figures of 4-80.
The 20-year-old Lancashire opener carried his bat for a magnificent maiden first-class century, before Simon Kerrigan took three wickets for 16 to hamper Middlesex’s title aspirations at Old Trafford. Middlesex reached stumps on the third day 72 for four, 140 ahead.
Jones, playing just his third Championship match and resuming on 42, became the youngest Lancashire batsman since Cyril Washbrook in 1935 (against Worcestershire at Old Trafford) to carry his bat through a Championship innings. He brought up his century from his 276th ball, with his second six off Ollie Rayner, but the hallmarks of his innings were sound defence and the ability to leave plenty.
Jones’ stand with Liam Livingstone, so vital on Tuesday evening swelled to 106, before Livingstone became the first of Steven Finn’s four wickets, guiding to second slip, the ball after the same stroke had brought up a fine 117-ball half-century.
Jones, who drove beautifully, was joined by Tom Bailey and the pair knuckled down to avert any threat of the follow-on, then earn a first unlikely batting point, and eventually see off the new ball. Bailey had pulled the ball impressively, but drove hard at Finn and was caught at first slip, while Kyle Jarvis could only divert his first ball, a lifting snorter, straight to gully.
Kerrigan received a reprieve when Finn bowled him with a no ball. However, after Jones had brought up his century, Kerrigan was trapped lbw and Toby Lester was bowled by Rayner to bring an end to Lancashire’s first innings, 68 behind. Jones had earned Lancashire two batting points, and orchestrated a remarkable turnaround.
The bowlers picked up where he left off. Nick Gubbins prodded forward to a ball from Kyle Jarvis that left him and was caught by Livingstone at first slip, although Sam Robson looked in good touch immediately with a series of cuts and pulls.
The introduction of Kerrigan proved vital, however, as he dismissed Robson for the second time in the match, lbw trying to pull the first ball of his spell. Nick Compton and Stevie Eskinazi both also fell lbw to become Kerrigan’s sixth and seventh victims, the former playing back and the latter forward.
The left-handers David Malan and John Simpson came together for a trial by spin, digging in with men round the bat, the ball turning and runs never readily available, to guide Middlesex to a lead of 140 at stumps, despite a huge appeal for lbw against Simpson with the last ball of the day, bowled by Livingstone.
A win would take Middlesex 20 points clear of Yorkshire, who are one ahead of Somerset, going into the final round of fixtures, when first plays second at Lord’s. A draw would see Middlesex top by nine, and should they lose, their advantage would be just four points.
Despite briefly flirting with a dart for victory through a Jos Buttler cameo, Lancashire held on for a draw against Middlesex at Old Trafford. As a result, Middlesex lead the County Championship by nine points from Yorkshire, their opponents in the final round. Somerset, who are a point behind Yorkshire, face Nottinghamshire at Taunton.
Resuming on the final day with a lead of 140, David Malan and John Simpson’s stand of 151 provided the backbone of Middlesex’s second innings 259 for eight declared, which set up a chase of 309 from 44 overs.
Malan and Simpson had come together with their side wavering on the third afternoon, but had dug in to reach stumps and it was more of the same against high quality bowling from Simon Kerrigan (who finished with 6-86, and match figures of 10-166) and Kyle Jarvis. Both batsman waited for the bad ball, and made it through the morning session unscathed, recording elegant half-centuries.
Malan, having smacked the Lancashire captain Steven Croft down the ground for six, reached his half-century from 128 balls, with five fours. Simpson, playing busily and repelling impressive turn from Liam Livingstone’s leg-breaks, brought up his own 50 with a cover driven four off Kerrigan, from his 150th ball.
Both fell as Middlesex looked to push on after tea. Malan reached 87 before edging behind trying to cut Kerrigan, while Toby Roland-Jones sliced to point and James Franklin was caught at long-on, also both to Kerrigan. Simpson fell shortly before the declaration arrived, bowled by Luke Procter.
Lancashire opted to promote Buttler, England’s interim ODI captain, to open the batting ahead of Haseeb Hameed. Buttler was immediately into his work, carving his first and third balls (from Steven Finn) for four through the off-side, and unfurling an array of ramps and scoops. After nine balls, he had 24, while his partner Rob Jones - a first innings centurion - was still on 0.
But Buttler tried to flick Finn to leg and was caught by Nick Compton at cover, departing with all 26 Lancashire runs to his name. From there, Jones, 20, and Hameed, 19, dropped anchor and batted out impressively for the draw. There were some dashing strokes, particularly from Jones down the ground to Ollie Rayner, while Hameed nudged and nurdled until Middlesex captain Franklin offered a handshake at 4.30pm. Both batsmen ended with 25 as Lancashire reached 80-1.
Middlesex took 11 points, and Lancashire nine, which takes them to fifth place, 14 points above Hampshire, who are eighth. Lancashire face sixth-placed Warwickshire at Edgbaston from Tuesday.