James Fuller and James Harris produced an unbroken ninth-wicket stand of 149* as Middlesex enjoyed the best of day two of this Specsavers County Championship match.
Starting the second day on 51 for one in reply to 236, the visitors had struggled to 212 for eight when Fuller walked out to join his fellow seamer.
By the close, Middlesex had moved to 361 for eight and led by 125. Fuller was unbeaten on a career-best 84, while Harris was 69 not out. It was a game-changing partnership.
Jim Allenby ended the day with four for 67, his best bowling figures for Somerset, but the loss of Jamie Overton to a back injury only three balls into his first over of the day proved a major blow for Somerset.
The morning session began encouragingly for the home side when Stevie Eskinazi chipped the opening delivery from Craig Overton straight to James Hildreth at mid-wicket. It was 74 for three when Dawid Malan inside edged a delivery from Peter Trego onto his stumps, but Nick Gubbins was going well, reaching a 72-ball half-century, with six fours and a six.
However, Gubbins was next out for 67, caught at second slip by Marcus Trescothick, diving to his right off Allenby. The former Glamorgan man quickly followed this up by having John Simpson caught behind for a duck and bowling James Franklin in an impressive spell of medium-pace from the River End.
At lunch Middlesex looked in trouble at 146 for six but George Bailey went on to make a 96-ball half-century to steady the ship. Somerset still looked on top when Ollie Rayner was caught at first slip by Allenby off Craig Overton to make it 177 for seven. Bailey eventually fell for 71, caught by Overton at first slip off Allenby.
By this stage the pitch had begun to flatten out and Fuller and Harris took full advantage.
The frustration for Somerset continued as Fuller went past his previous best First Class score of 73 and the pair secured a fourth batting point in the 109th over, having established a Middlesex record for a ninth-wicket stand against Somerset, set back in 1895.
Shortly after the close of play Craig Overton summed the day up in a simple sentence when he said: “We bowled well this morning and they batted well this afternoon.”
“The pitch has flattened out and is not doing as much as it was yesterday, so we have had to fight hard today. We stuck to our task throughout the day but sadly we didn’t get the rewards, so we will come back tomorrow and try our best again.”
“There is still a little bit there but its more like a normal Taunton wicket now. It’s pretty flat so you have to keep bashing away and hopefully get the rewards t some point.”
Regarding the injury to his brother Jamie, who left the field before lunch halfway through an over Craig said: “We’re not to sure at the moment. He is having a scan tomorrow morning so helpfully we will find out a bit more after that, but it’s disappointing that he has gone down. However, the boys have stuck together well and that’s just the way it goes sometimes in sport and you just have to deal with it.
“We’d like to back ourselves to get early wickets tomorrow and then bat well so that we can have a go at bowling them out on the last day.”