Middlesex fighting to avoid Lord’s defeat

Close, day three: Middlesex 181 & 57-1 trail Notts 298 & 401-8 dec by 461 runs

Middlesex face an uphill battle to save their County Championship opener at Lord’s after a superb Chris Read century.

The former England wicket-keeper, now 36, hit an unbeaten 101 from just 77 balls to allow his side to declare after tea on 401-8.

Earlier, James Taylor made 61 and shared in half-century stands with Samit Patel (33) and Riki Wessels (38).

Middlesex then lost Sam Robson for a duck in the second over, leaving Nick Gubbins (13 not out) and Nick Compton (37 not out) the repair job on Wednesday.

Notts began the day on 101-2, leading by 218, and nightwatchman Will Gidman hung around to help Alex Hales add 35 to the overnight score, before being caught at slip off Adam Voges’ bowling.

The dangerous Hales followed soon after as Tim Murtagh had him caught behind for 37, leaving Notts on 140-4.

Patel, dropped on eight by Robson at slip, added 69 with Taylor, who put on a further 49 alongside Wessels as Middlesex’s bowlers toiled.

Spin did the trick as Stirling had Taylor lbw but Wessels and Read took the Notts total past 300.

The visitors were 329-7 at tea, leading by 446, and Read unsurprisingly opted to hit out.

He brought up his second 50 of the match with a glorious cover drive, pulled out the reverse sweep, hit 22 off one Stirling over and clipped a top edge just past the despairing dive of wicket-keeper John Simpson.

The Notts captain reached his century by clipping Voges down to long leg and not long after declared, leaving Middlesex a tricky 23 overs to negotiate.

But just nine balls in, Robson was trapped lbw before either opener could get off the mark.

Gubbins and Compton survived to the close, putting on 57, but with the injured Dawid Malan not batting, Middlesex will need to dig deep to avoid defeat.

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