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Middlesex dominate third day on flat Lord's pitch

Middlesex dominate third day on flat Lord's pitch

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.

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