DAY 3 Close: Gloucestershire 342 & 45-1 beat Middlesex 153 & 233 by nine wickets (PTS: Glos 20, Midd 3)
Gloucestershire extended their advantage at the top of the county championship division two after completing a nine-wicket victory over Middlesex at Bristol.
The victory was achieved courtesy of a wonderful bowling performance throughout the match. The problem in previous season has been the lack of ability to take 20 wickets, but this season, the Shire have assembled a threatening bowling attack.
Not only have Jon Lewis and Steve Kirby returned right to the top of their games, but the bowlers being introduced around these two have developed excellently to a point where there is no longer the feeling of an easy ride once the opening pair have been negotiated.
Anthony Ireland has worked hard over the winter, gained a yard of pace, and now bowls with the control required to take wickets in first-class cricket. Vikram Banerjee also, has progressed to be the first-choice spinner, and now really thinks about his bowling and is able to vary his pace and flight well, although does have a tendency to bowl a little short.
Alongside those four, the Shire have James Franklin - who didn't enjoy too much luck in this match - but whose natural angle provides great variety and the overseas seems to be adding far more than he achieved in previous spells with Glos and Glamorgan; his first-innings 67 pushed the home side's lead from useful to almost unassailable in terms of Middlesex's chances to save the match.
Middlesex are a useful outfit and with Andrew Strauss, Owais Shah and Eion Morgan in the line-up, it was a fantastic achievement for Glos to restrict them to just 386 runs in the match. If batsman could take their starts to big scores, the Shire will have a team extremely difficult to beat.