Nick Gubbins celebrated a maiden First Cclass hundred at Lord’s on day three as Middlesex reached 407 for 9 and overhauled Somerset’s first innings total of 376 in the Specsavers County Championship.
While there was ecstasy for Gubbins, however, and a First Class best for Middlesex of 85 by Paul Stirling, there was agony for his fellow opener Sam Robson who failed by one run to hit four successive hundreds at Lord’s when he was out for 99.
Gubbins was eventually dismissed soon after lunch for a near five-hour 109, with Marcus Trescothick taking a sharp chest-high catch slightly to his left at slip as the batsman flashed at Jim Allenby. Robson was bowled by left-arm spinner Jack Leach, trying to cut, and his opening partnership of 198 with Gubbins also failed by a single run to match Middlesex’s first wicket record against Somerset – the 199 put on by Jack Robertson and Syd Brown at Lord’s in 1951.
Before snaring Gubbins Allenby had also had Dawid Malan caught at slip for 5 and, armed with the second new ball, Tim Groenewald pinned both Adam Voges and John Simpson lbw, for 18 and 10 respectively, in an hour after lunch that seemed to have suddenly tipped the contest Somerset’s way.
From 252 for 5, however, Middlesex were revived by Stirling who, in stands of 49 and 71 with James Franklin and Ollie Rayner, guided them into the lead. Stirling hit a six and 11 fours in a responsible 132-ball effort after seeing Franklin edge Leach to slip for 23 and Rayner depart for 26 when he was leg-before to the same bowler.
Stirling also fell leg-before to the 25-year-old Leach, who bowled accurately and well to finish with 4 for 64.
After the close of play Jack Leach said: “It has been a good day for the lads at Lord’s today. We stuck at it well after not quite hitting our straps last night and we came back strongly today. If you look at the scores I think they scored 270 for nine wickets today so we were a lot better today and played the way we have for most of the rest of the season.
“It has been nice to be able to show people what we can do in terms of coming back strong from not getting it right last evening. It is a pretty good wicket, slow with not much pace in it so obviously it’s difficult to force wickets so you have got to be patient and we did that a lot better today. It’s been a tough day for the lads, but better than yesterday.”
Talking about his four wickets so far Jack said: “I was really happy with the wickets but also about the way I bowled and I think that it has been one of the best games I have bowled in Championship cricket to date. I feel like I am learning a lot at the moment and just loving it. I would love to be able to come back and get that remaining wicket in the morning.”
Looking ahead to the final day Jack said: “I think we have got to be very focused tomorrow and come back and get that remaining wicket as quickly as possible and then bat well.”
He added: “It can be a difficult wicket to bat on when you first go in so I think it’s very important that we are very focused on our jobs tomorrow, but I think getting a result from this game is going to be difficult.”