LV COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP DAY THREE
Middlesex 309 & f/o 147-5
ADAM Voges put any Ashes disappointments behind him to enter the Middlesex record books not once but twice on Day three at Uxbridge.
But his efforts could not stop the hosts hurtling towards what now seems inevitable defeat at home to reigning champions Warwickshire.
While England and Australia began writing the latest chapter of Test cricket’s oldest and fiercest rivalry at Trent Bridge, Voges, who many think has been unlucky not to don a green baggy for the series, began writing some history of his own in the more parochial surroundings of Park Road.
The 33-year-old became only the seventh man in the county’s history to score a century on first-class debut, the first being Edward Lyttleton back in 1878 and shared a new record fifth wicket stand against Warwickshire of 180 with wicketkeeper John Simpson.
However, some dogged resistance from youngster Ravi Patel apart there was little else for home supporters to cheer.
Voges and Simpson resumed on 177-4 with their stand already worth 149, needing just 27 to erase the previous record for the fifth wicket against Warwickshire by Paul Weekes and Jamie Dalrymple at Edgbaston in 2004.
This they achieved with very few alarms and for the briefest of moments it appeared Middlesex might drag themselves back from the abyss of 28-4 on the second afternoon.
However, just four runs later the visitors, a bowler short with Chris Wright off the field with a back problem, broke the resistance as spinner Jeetan Patel pinned Simpson (63) lbw with the arm ball which went straight on.
Voges was on 99 and duly completed his century, but as so often happens after a long partnership one wicket brings two and Gareth Berg went first ball, caught behind off the excellent Keith Barker.
Barker then pulled off an excellent low catch at short mid-wicket off the bowling of Patel to send Ollie Rayner packing for just 10, before having Toby Roland Jones caught for nought to a shot he won’t want to remember for long.
Middlesex had gone from 208-4 to 227-8 and it took Patel to show application lacking in some of his more experienced colleagues to get Middlesex to lunch without further loss.
Showing an organised defence Patel provided the staunch support Voges needed to move to 150.
He was out to his very next delivery caught and bowled by Patel, leaving Middlesex needing one more run for a third batting point.
Corey Collymore obliged with four to third man before holing out with the score on 309.
Patel was left 26 not out, his highest first-class score to date. On this evidence it will be higher than that before long.
Asked to follow on any hopes Middlesex would make a better fist of it second time around were soon dispelled.
Dawid Malan’s struggles against the red-ball were underlined again as he attempted to cut a ball far to0 close to him from Woakes only to inside edge it onto his stumps to depart for just 3.
Sam Robson by contrast looked solid until on 29 he was undone by a lifting ball from Boyd Rankin and edged to the safe hands of Rikki Clarke at slip.
Joe Denly and skipperNeil Dexter briefly threatened a rebuilding job, only to both fall to the tireless Barker shortly after the 100 was raised.
Dexter nicked one to Ambrose, while Denly, another under pressure for his place rashly chose to play a calypso style drive the occasion did not demand and Barker duly rearranged his furniture.
It meant the heroes of day two were back in harness again as Voges and Simpson joined forces once more, but there was to be no repeat of the heroics of 24 hours earlier as in the penultimate over of the day Simpson got a good one from Rankin and the gloves of Ambrose did the rest.
Middlesex should make the 30 runs they need to avoid an innings defeat, but barring miracles back-to-back defeats in the Championship now appear inevitable.