Close, day three: Middlesex 98 & 239-2 v Nottinghamshire 329
Middlesex 3pts, Notts 6pts
England captain Andrew Strauss batted throughout the third day against Nottinghamshire at Uxbridge to take an unbeaten century and put his side right back into the game.
The top-order batsman, making a brief cameo for Middlesex before England’s massively important Test series with South Africa which starts next week, made his hundred from just 157 deliveries as his team chased Notts’ 231-run lead.
Chris Rogers’ half-century in a bullish partnership with Strauss reduced that lead to just 33 runs midway through the afternoon session.
Rain forced play to be abandoned at the tea interval but Joe Denley’s 15 not out means Middlesex now lead by eight runs with eight wickets remaining going into the final day.
Strauss had not scored a first-class century for his county since August last year but to catch a glimpse of him in a Middlesex shirt is a rarity due to his England commitments.
But with the first Test against South Africa approaching, Strauss took the opportunity to get in as much practice as possible and showed exactly why is is one of the world’s best batsman.
He began well, making a 55 partnership with fellow opener Sam Robson in less than 20 overs but Andy Carter forced Robson to clip to the wicketkeeper with 26 runs to his name.
But Strauss brought up his half-ton just before lunch as he and Rogers bedded in, and they went into the first interval 107-1 with Rogers at 20.
Rogers kicked on in the second session and took his half-century as Strauss moved to 62, but it was all Strauss from then on and his hundred was taken in the same over as Rogers’ wicket fell.
Strauss finished the day on 127 not out and Nottinghamshire’s Andre Adams, who took six wickets in the first innings as Middlesex were bowled out for only 98, will need to rethink his strategy if they are to finish the hosts off.