DAY 2 Close: Gloucestershire 196-9 trail Middlesex 342 by 146 runs (PTS: Glos 3 Midd 6)
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John Bracewell gathered the Gloucestershire batsmen on the Lord's outfield before the start of play on day two, and had a serious finger-pointing conversation about their responsibilities; what unfolded totally contradicted the instructions of the director of cricket.
The batting has struggled all season, but has turned into a disgrace since the start of the Cheltenham festival; whenever the ball has swung the batsmen have got into serious difficulties through a lack of foot movement. The performances have seen the Shire playing catch-up in all their fixtures and there has been an reliance on the lower order to bail the side out.
A bail out of sorts occurred as Jon Lewis and Steve Kirby sneaked the total over the follow-on mark, but it was scant consolation for another day of hideous shot making.
Hamish Marshall and Rob Woodman fended at balls they should have left, while James Franklin and Richard Dawson played round deliveries attempting to attack instead of occupy the crease and play the situation.
Chris Taylor was the only man to show the necessary patience. He kept himself out in the middle and steadily accumulated by reverting to the under 11's batting mantra - waiting for the bad ball. He hit 13 boundaries and demonstrated that concentration is of the essence in first-class cricket.
Once again it will take a major recovery act for Gloucestershire to save this match, and with the confidence of the batsmen shattered, it is the dark days of last year rather than the possibility of promotion which is most on the mind.
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