It was the day of the thirty-somethings at Lord’s where Tim Murtagh, returned his 27th First Class haul of five wickets or more and Peter Trego, the combative Somerset all-rounder, responded with his fourth half-century of the season.
Murtagh, 34, took three wickets in three overs with the new ball after Somerset began the second day of the Specsavers County Championship First Division match on 219 or two but Trego, two months his senior, revived the visitors in a sixth wicket partnership of 113 with Lewis Gregory.
Somerset were eventually bowled out for 376, Murtagh finishing with five for 53 from 30 overs, whereupon Sam Robson, the Australia-born opening batsman discarded by England two years ago, continued in his rich vein of form.
Robson had scored 451 in his three previous innings at Lord’s this season - 231 and 106 against Warwickshire, 114 not out against Nottinghamshire – and now he added an unbeaten 67 off 130 balls with 10 fours.
He was dropped twice in the fifties – at point off Tim Groenewald and in the slips off Jim Allenby – but with Nick Gubbins joining him in an unbroken opening partnership of 139 he had given Middlesex just the start they needed. Gubbins finished on 65.
The pitch looked as placid as it had done on the first day when Somerset captain Chris Rogers was scoring a century against his former county and James Hildreth was sharing an unbroken third wicket partnership of 125 that promised many more.
Rogers had added five to his overnight 104 when he dabbled outside off stump and was caught behind. Two balls later, Jim Allenby, pushing forward, edged to second slip and two overs after that Hildreth was leg before for 68.
Murtagh also uprooted Trego’s off stump with a ball that came back and kept low but not before he had hit a typically belligerent 65 off 90 balls with nine fours and a six.
Ryan Davies became Murtagh’s fifth victim when James Franklin caught him at the second attempt at mid on but he could not dislodge Gregory who had made a disciplined 49 off 129 balls when he perished to the off spin of Olly Rayner.
After the close Pete Trego, whose fourth half century makes him the eighth highest run scorer in Division One of the Specsavers County Championship with 424 runs at 60.57 said: “Middlesex made it hard work for us today. They have bowled really good disciplined areas for a day and a half, and they were making the ball talk. It was really difficult and we were really happy with 370 and we still are.
“We missed the boat a little bit with the new ball but in the 50 overs of the bowling tonight we pegged it back and slowed them down, but we certainly didn’t hit our straps to start with. It’s something we need to address tomorrow and we have to hit them hard first thing.”
Regarding the sixth wicket partnership he shared with Lewis Gregory, the all rounder said: “It was great to share in that partnership with Lewis. Everyone knows he has ability and he batted very maturely and we added some very important runs together. We enjoy each others company and we had a good time out there.”
Pete added: “We are not disappointed with where the game is at the moment, we just need to make sure we hit our straps with the ball in the morning.”