LIVERPOOL VICTORIA COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP DIVISION TWO
Young Middlesex stars Eoian Morgan and in particular Dawid Malan will want to play at Uxbridge every season if 2008 is anything to go by.
Having thrilled the Park Road crowd with half-centuries in the Twenty20 Cup last week, the pair came together with Middlesex struggling at 36 for four on the first morning of the four-day County Championship game with Northampotnshire.
Yet when 21-year-old Morgan (66) departed they had added 121 together and 20-year-old Malan remained to compile his maiden century on his competition debut.
Malan remained unbeaten on 132 having taken Middlesex to a rather health-ier 340 all out in their first innings, although Northants looked like eclipsing that after racing to 248 for two on the second day, Rob White clattering 127 off just 103 balls.
The hosts hit back to restrict their first innings deficit to just 37 as Tim Murtgah (3-79), Malan (2-26), Shaun Udal (2-96), 19-year-old Steven Finn (2-64) and 20-year-old Danny Evans (1-93) all struck.
However, having lost Andrew Strauss and nightwatchman Finn late on Monday Middlesex had a lot of work to do to as the Gazette went to press, after slipping to 35 for four, although Ed Joyce and Morgan led them to 97 for four at lunch, a lead of 60.
Johannes van der Wath had all four scalps to add to his earlier five for 68.
Rain is forecast for today (Wednesday) and Middlesex look likely to need another impressive show from the likes of Malan if they are to make it three wins in a row in Division Two.