Surrey on top as sorry Middlesex crumble

Middlesex 161-9 trail Surrey 338 by 177 runs

A disappointing batting display left Middlesex in deep trouble at Lord’s as they slumped to 161-9 at the close of day two – still 27 runs short of avoiding the follow-on.

Sam Robson top scored with 36 but many of his teammates barely made it beyond double figures as Surrey’s bowlers struck at regular intervals.

Earlier, Corey Collymore, Tim Murtagh and Paul Stirling had picked up the final six Surrey wickets for just 71 runs to prevent the visitors from racking up an imposing total.

But all the efforts of the bowlers were undermined by the collapse which saw Middlesex slide from 72-1 to 141-8 – and the loss of Steven Finn in the closing stages leaves them with a mountain to climb to avoid defeat.

Unless Murtagh (17 not out) and Collymore, who has yet to face a ball, can knock off the 27 needed, Surrey skipper Graeme Smith will have the choice of enforcing the follow-on or batting again and extending a healthy first innings lead.

Surrey started day two on 267-4 and Murtagh struck early on, trapping England wicket-keeper Steven Davies lbw.

The visitors passed 300 without any further scares but then succumbed to some accurate Middlesex bowling.

Zander de Bruyn (34) was caught behind off Toby Roland-Jones and the tail fail to wag, with Collymore and Stirling picking up two wickets apiece – skipper Chris Rogers taking a great catch to bowl out Surrey for 338.

Rogers and Robson, who have both been in great form so far this season, knew they needed another big partnership to set up Middlesex’s reply, but the captain failed to build on a bright start as he was bowled by De Bruin for 21.

Joe Denly joined Robson to keep the scoreboard ticking over steadily and together they guided Middlesex to 72-1.

But Denly’s dismissal, lbw to England bowler Jade Dernbach, was the start of a collapse and Dawid Malan (13) and Robson fell in quick succession to leave the home side on 92-4.

Neil Dexter and John Simpson briefly brought some stability but their partnership was ended when Dernbach picked up Dexter in the slips, and when he then had Stirling out first ball Middlesex were rocking at 121-6.

Simpson, Roland-Jones and Murtagh all perished for 17 and Finn was out for 3 as Surrey established a commanding position going into the weekend.



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