Tim Murtagh’s momentum-shifting five-wicket haul at Lords’ on day two of Middlesex’s Specsavers County Championship match against Somerset left the hosts in control at the half-way mark.
Murtagh took five wickets before tea as Middlesex bowled Somerset out for 376, before Sam Robson and Nick Gubbins both earned half-centuries as the home side piled on 139 for the loss of no wicket, which was compounded as Somerset dropped Robson twice in the slip cordon.
Murtagh makes early inroads before Trego leads fightback
Murtagh struck three times early on Tuesday morning as he removed the first of Somerset’s overnight batsman Chris Rogers after the Australian nicked behind to John Simpson for 109, which was followed by Jim Allenby falling two balls later for a duck.
The second of Somerset’s overnight batsman James Hildreth was next back to the famous Lords' pavilion for 68 as he was trapped in front to bring up Murtagh’s third of the morning within half an hour to leave the visitors 233-5.
The early collapse brought Peter Trego and Lewis Gregory to the crease and the former started the revival by hitting two powerful cut shots through point before Middlesex turned to the off-spin of Ollie Rayner, but Trego saw him off with relative ease by hitting a one-bounce four, before smashing a huge six over extra cover to take his score past 20.
Middlesex felt aggrieved with the score on 291 as Gregory prodded forward to a Rayner delivery which fell at the hands of Nick Gubbins, but as the Middlesex team converged in celebration, Gregory remained unmoved and the umpires sided in the Somerset man’s favour after adjudging the ball to not have carried.
The all-rounder compounded Rayner’s misery by clipping him through midwicket for four just two overs later to move the score past 300.
Somerset suffer late collapse following century partnership
After the lunch break, Trego cut loose and hit four fours from one James Franklin over, the first taking him to his half-century, the second agonisingly flying over the slips and the fourth taking the partnership to over 100.
Despite Trego and Gregory’s dominance, it hadn’t been plain sailing with the early-season Lords’ wicket keeping low time after time, which proved to be Trego’s downfall as he was bowled by Murtagh for 65, before Murtagh bagged his fifth of the day after Ryan Davies chipped one to Franklin for seven.
Toby Roland-Jones then took Middlesex’s first non-Murtagh wicket of the day as he sent Craig Overton’s middle stump cartwheeling back towards the media centre for a three-ball duck, before Gregory was Somerset’s last recognised batsman to fall for 49 when his attempted sweep shot went straight up to give Rayner his first wicket of the innings.
Jack Leach was last out driving Rayner to Adam Voges at short cover to end the Somerset innings on 376.
Gubbins and Robson see hosts to the close unscathed
Gregory then got his chance with the ball as Rogers looked to him instead of Overton with the new ball and his first three overs went for 24 as Robson and Gubbins hit their straps early on.
Middlesex’s 50 came up on 11 overs as Robson hit two succulent drives for four before bringing up his own 50 from just 61 balls shortly after.
As the 100 was brought up in just 21 overs, Robson benefited from his first piece of luck as he was dropped in the gully by Trego before Marcus Trescothick dropped a simple chance at second slip five overs later.
Whilst Robson was busy edging the ball to the slips, Gubbins was quietly going about his business at the other end and reached his fifty from 85 balls before the hosts shut down for the day and reached 139-0 at the close, 237 behind.