Middlesex collapse as Gloucestershire take control

Middlese's Sam Robson hits four runs during the LV= Insurance County Championship match at Lord's Cr

Middlese's Sam Robson hits four runs during the LV= Insurance County Championship match at Lord's Cricket Ground, London. Picture date: Thursday April, 8, 2021. - Credit: PA

Middlesex have endured some tough days this season but their collapse of eight for 25 on day two at Cheltenham must rank as the most desperate as Gloucestershire took a lead of 345.

Bottom of Group Two with only one win and a litany of batting failures so far this season, they were steady at 76 for two replying to 248 just before lunch.

But in 10.2 overs they tumbled wildly like cheese rollers down Cooper’s Hill to be bowled out just 101 before Gloucestershire went to the close 198 for six in their second innings, with James Bracey making 88.

Gloucestershire were without David Payne who was called up to England’s ODI squad to play Pakistan but it mattered not as Matt Taylor claimed four for 19 - his best return of the season - and 21-year-old Tom Price three for 29 in just his second first-class match.

Payne’s replacement, Dom Goodman, took a wicket with his fourth delivery, a fortunate one as Stevie Eskinazi was strangled down the leg side, but Middlesex were actually enjoying one of their better starts to an innings this season when Dan Worrall struck twice in two balls before lunch.

He got one to nip back and flick Sam Robson’s bails for a well-made 37 before Daryl Mitchell was caught on the crease and palpably lbw.

Peter Handscomb made just his fifth score over 20 this season but, on 21, he pushed at one from Taylor that left him a little and edged behind. 

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Middlesex wicketkeeper John Simpson was also called up by England but his replacement Robbie White made just 5, which proved the top score of anyone batting lower than number four.

Price had Martin Andersson caught at slip driving far too loosely and took out Blake Cullen and Ethan Bamber lbw to finish the innings off.

With a huge lead of 147, Miles Hammond followed a first-innings 75 with 46 before Bracey continued his rehabilitation to ram home the advantage.

He drove Tim Murtagh smartly through midwicket on his way to a 95-ball half-century but he drove Mitchell to backward point just before bad light curtailed the day.

Before that, Jack Taylor made a sprightly 40 in 29 balls. He cut and drove Nathan Sowter’s legspin for four before hoisting him over long-off for six. He then drove Murtagh for three fours in an over at the start of his second spell.

Middlesex’s Sam Robson said: “We knew it was going to be a tough day but we weren’t good enough ultimately and it’s very disappointing.

“There was enough happening for the bowlers but our decision making wasn’t as good as we’d liked.

“It was tough going at times but you expect that virtually every time you bat.

“We have to come out in the morning, knock them over quickly and then obviously play much better than we did today."