Friday, 8th September 2006

Smith hundred in battle against the rising tide of relegation

FIXTURE

Vs: Nottinghamshire

Match: LVCC 1

Venue: Lord's

Day 3

Middlesex battled hard against the rising tide of relegation from division one of the County Championship, but at the close of the third day’s play they still need a further 138 runs to avoid an innings defeat with just four wickets standing. Ed Smith held the innings together with a superb display of concentration making 147 runs, and reaching 1,000 championship runs for the season when he had reached 95.

Nottinghamshire batted on in the morning for a further 38 minutes, adding 41 runs for the loss of three further wickets in reaching 642-9 declared – a lead of 412 runs. Chris Silverwood took the first wicket when Samat Patel was caught at short mid off for 156 (made off 148 balls, 8 sixes & 15 fours). Johann Louw bowled Franks for 64 and when he trapped Harris LBW first ball the declaration came.

In reply, Middlesex lost first innings centurion Nick Compton LBW to Sidebottom for two in the seventh over of the innings and Ben Hutton was struck by a rising ball from the same bowler just above his right elbow forcing him to retire hurt soon afterwards.
Owais Shah and Ed Smith batted without further mishap to see Middlesex to 58-1 at lunch after 22 overs.

Smith reached his fifty (off 84 balls, 7 fours) before Shah was LBW to Harris for 35 after the pair had taken the Middlesex to 108. Eoin Morgan struck two fine boundaries through the covers off successive deliveries by Harris, but was caught at the wicket off the next ball.

Paul Weekes was given a warm ovation by the crowd when he joined Smith at the wicket on his last first class appearance for Middlesex at Lord’s and they were greatly relieved when Weekes avoided a ‘pair’. Ed Smith entered the nineties before Weekes was caught at the wicket off Franks having made 11; he acknowledged the warm applause of the crowd rising to a great servant of Middlesex cricket.

Smith reached his fourth championship hundred of the season (off 146 balls, 14 fours) and with David Nash saw Middlesex to 197-4 at tea. The pair took their partnership for the fifth wicket to 97 runs at which point the visitors took the new ball. Sidebottom trapped Smith LBW with the very first delivery with it, Smith having made 147 (off 245 balls, 19 fours).

David Nash was trapped LBW by Sidebottom for a battling 38 (off 124 balls) off the last ball of the day which closed with Middlesex on 274-6.

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