Middlesex on brink of crushing win over Glamorgan

John Simpson
Middlesex wicketkeeper John Simpson has played three one-day internationals for England
LV= County Championship Division Two, Sophia Gardens, Cardiff (day two)
Glamorgan 122 & 104-6: Labuschagne 23; Roland-Jones 3-35
Middlesex 336: Simpson 104*; Harris 4-68
Glamorgan (3pts) trail Middlesex (6 pts) by 110 runs with 4 wickets remaining
Scorecard

Middlesex are on the brink of a crushing win over Glamorgan after dominating day two in Cardiff.

Resuming on 171-6, the visitors posted a total of 336 – a first-innings lead of 214 – thanks to John Simpson’s measured unbeaten century.

In reply, Glamorgan laboured to 104-6 before bad light stopped play.

Middlesex seamer Toby Roland-Jones shone with 3-35, while Shaheen Shah Afridi dismissed Marnus Labuschagne for the seventh time in eight innings.

The battle between Pakistan paceman Afridi and Australia’s Labuschagne, the world’s number one-ranked Test batter, had generated much excitement ahead of this encounter.

And while their personal duel has provided plenty of entertainment, the contest as a whole is effectively over after a severely one-sided second day.

Whereas the first day saw 16 wickets tumble in bowler-friendly conditions, Middlesex made the pitch look like a perfectly decent batting surface as they amassed a decisive first-innings lead.

Wicketkeeper Simpson compiled a near-chanceless century to anchor his team’s innings, while Roland-Jones hit an aggressive 65 and Afridi chipped in with a gung-ho 29.

Glamorgan’s response never got going in earnest as they lost wickets at regular intervals.

Openers David Lloyd and Andrew Salter were bowled by Roland-Jones and Tom Helm for 22 and seven and, although Labuschagne struck some elegant shots as he counter-attacked, the Australian succumbed to an in-swinging Afridi delivery lbw.

Martin Andersson dismissed Kiran Carlson lbw with his first ball, before Roland-Jones picked up the wickets of Chris Cooke and Callum Taylor – both caught behind – in an exemplary bowling performance.

Sam Northeast and Michael Neser will resume Glamorgan’s innings on Saturday on 21 and 22 respectively but, with the hosts still trailing by 110, a heavy defeat looks inevitable.

Glamorgan assistant coach David Harrison told BBC Radio Wales: “We thought if we bowled them out for a lead of less than 100, it would have been great for us but it wasn’t to be.

“Fair play to John Simpson, he played a really good innings, along with Toby Roland-Jones, who played positively, and Tom Helm.

“They got a few more than we would have liked but we were still confident of getting a big score in the second innings. Unfortunately, they bowled really well and we couldn’t get started.

“Cricket’s a funny game and I’ve played in some strange games in the past. so we’ll come back positive in the morning, try and get some sort of lead and try and put them under some kind of pressure.”

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