Nottinghamshire’s bowlers were left feeling frustrated by a stand of 203 between Middlesex’s Sam Robson and Eoin Morgan as both sides struggled for supremacy on the second day of their LV= County Championship match at Lord’s.
Pressing their claims for a spot in England’s summer plans Robson made an unbeaten 144 and Morgan added 86 as the home side closed the day on 296-4, just 30 behind, after Notts had advanced their own first innings score to 326.
Mick Newell paid tribute to the quality of the opener’s effort. “I don’t think Robson has looked like getting out all day. He played and missed at Peter Siddle a few times in the first half hour of his innings but has looked very composed. It’s been an excellent knock.”
With the second new ball still fresh, the director of cricket knows his side have to make it count from now on.
"There’s lots to play for and it will be an interesting session." Mick Newell
“If we can pick up wickets with it and maintain parity or near-parity then we will still have a chance of winning on the final day but if they are still batting by mid-afternoon then we will be struggling a little bit.
“It’s an excellent batting surface and it’s making our score look a little under-par at the moment but obviously there’s lots to play for and it will be an interesting session tomorrow (third day) morning.”
Nottinghamshire batted on for a further twenty minutes during the morning session, adding just eleven runs to their overnight 315-8.
Andy Carter (8) became Steven Finn’s fifth victim, clipping the pace man to Dawid Malan at slip and then Luke Fletcher (25) clubbed Tim Murtagh into the hands of Chris Rogers at long off.
Peter Siddles’s first spell in Nottinghamshire colours went unrewarded but he beat the bat on any number of occasions without finding the outside edge.
Fletcher enjoyed better fortune as Rogers (15) chased a wide-ish delivery to Patel at third slip and then Malan (0) feathered behind to Chris Read.
The post-lunch session mirrored the previous day as Eoin Morgan (a la Taylor in the first innings) began with a flurry of boundaries and Robson then punched a couple to the rope as well to bring up his half century (91 balls 7x4).
Robson sped away from his partner after a period in which he monopolised the strike, with Read rotating all four seamers, plus Patel and Mullaney, in a bid to end the stand.
Morgan’s half century (89 balls 7x4) always seemed to be a matter of when – not if – with very few deliveries inconveniencing him as the afternoon wore on.
Siddle’s first bowl from the Pavilion End, after 12 from the other, saw Robson clip through midwicket to move on to 99 and then a hastily gathered single brought a deserved century (170 balls 14x4), his 12th in first class cricket.
A lengthy Notts huddle preceded the final session with Read undoubtedly looking to keep things tight. The plan immediately went awry – although understandably – as play began with four overthrows as James Taylor shied unsuccessfully at the non-strikers end in an attempt to run out Robson.
The double century stand materialised as the score reached 222 but ‘double-nelson’ worked in Notts’ favour as Morgan (86) edged Gurney to a diving Read.
Adam Rossington (8), having sat with his pads on for over four hours, got off the mark with a pulled six off the left-armer but departed soon afterwards, trapped lbw by a jubilant Carter.
With nine overs of the day remaining Notts took the second new ball but were unable to make further inroads and will now hope for a wicket-laden start to the third morning.