Friday, May 06, 2011

Glos dig in through brave Taylor

Day 3, Close: Gloucestershire 358 & 218-5 lead Middlesex 406 by 170 runs (PTS: Glos 7, Midd 8)

At one stage on the third afternoon at Bristol, Gloucestershire were dead and buried. They only had a two-figure lead, were five down and had Chris Taylor and Hamish Marshall injured. A third day finish was most likely. Until Taylor braved his knee injury to produce what could still be a match-winning innings.

Gloucestershire found a partnership they desperately needed; something to get the second innings going. Ian Cockbain made another decent score but there were no meaningful stands - the 54 partnership for the first wicket was interrupted with Marshall going off hurt.

Middlesex took regular wickets. The new signing, Kane Williamson, faced a total of 23 balls over two innings for 15 runs, including a duck today - not exactly what he was signed for. Alex Gidman matched him: 10 from 18 balls in the match for the skipper.

But a stand of 90 between Taylor, who was as fluent as in the first innings, and Will Gidman, who also shared a solid partnership with him when Taylor made that hundred, put on 90 to move Gloucestershire towards safety. Another session of batting should make the game safe.

If they then bowl well with the new ball, Gloucestershire could yet win the game. Middlesex could also win if they take five fairly cheap wickets. But anything over 200 is going to be a challenge on a wearing pitch.

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