Woeful Middlesex face damaging defeat

Close, day two: Middlesex 106 & 52-2 trail Somerset 449 by 291 runs

Middlesex require a miracle to avoid a second dispiriting defeat on the trot after the title contenders were made to follow-on at Lord’s in arguably their worst single day of the season.

Somerset’s tail added another 117 runs to their overnight score for the final two wickets as leg-spinner Piyush Chawla reached his century, Middlesex needing until after lunch to eventually break the ninth-wicket stand of 99.

The misery continued for the home side as they were bundled out inside 40 overs for just 106, Ollie Rayner top scoring with an unbeaten 34.

Following on, Middlesex lost Chris Rogers (2) and Joe Denly (13) cheaply to close on 52-2, still 291 runs short of making Somerset bat again.

The loss to Derbyshire in their last match saw Middlesex lose ground on leaders Yorkshire, but Thursday may well have been the day their title challenge suffered a fatal blow.

Somerset had already recovered from 211-7 to close on 332-8 on Wednesday and their lower order continued to pile on the runs the next morning, with Chawla and Alfonso Thomas still at the crease at lunch.

Chawla had reached 112 before he was finally dismissed, caught by Rayner off Ravi Patel’s bowling, ending a record ninth-wicket partnership for Somerset against Middlesex.

The pain was extended further as Thomas added 32 more runs with last man Jamie Overton. Thomas was left stranded on 54 not out when Overton was lbw to Patel.

Rogers’s first appearance in the middle at Lord’s since the second Ashes Test lasted just 15 balls as he was pouched by Nick Compton off the bowling of Overton for just eight.

The other six frontline batsmen mustered just 37 runs between them as Middlesex slumped to 55-7, rendering the follow-on target of 299 an irrelevance.

Rayner and James Harris took the total into three figures with a stand of 49 before Chawla, the scourge of Middlesex in the morning with the bat, took 3-8 in five overs to wrap up the tail and put Somerset in charge.

Middlesex had 14 overs to see out after following-on but Rogers and Denly came and went quickly again, leaving Sam Robson (26 not out) and Dawid Malan (9 not out) with the unenviable rebuilding task.



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