Cricket: County Championship: Richards and Dale flay Middlesex: Leaders suffer record-breaking partnership - Essex have swift reply for Kent - Rampant Warwickshire force follow-on

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The Independent Online
Glamorgan 562-3 dec

Middlesex 129-1

RECORDS tumbled and the applause could almost be heard down the Mumbles but for Glamorgan, the bottom line, somewhere around late Monday afternoon, is whether they can bowl out Middlesex twice. Hugh Morris, the Glamorgan captain, made clear his intentions by batting on until just past three o'clock on the second day.

Down in Uxbridge, Middlesex followers might take umbrage about the tactics of Morris but he did win the toss and Glamorgan's fourth-wicket pair, of Vivian Richards and Adrian Dale, shared an unbroken partnership of 425 off 119 overs in just under seven hours. It was the best for any wicket in Glamorgan's 72-year history.

Middlesex retorted with a century opening partnership between Desmond Haynes, the only batsman dismissed in the day, and Michael Roseberry as the leaders duly hit back at their closest rivals, now 14 points behind.

Strokeplay transcended statistics, once Richards had completed his 114th century from the first ball of the day. His intended cut off Neil Williams scuttled almost apologetically past the stumps off the bottom edge to the fine-leg boundary.

From this relative misdemeanour in an otherwise unblemished innings, Richards and Dale matched each other, almost run for run. They became the first pair of Glamorgan batsmen to score double hundreds in the same innings since left-handers Emrys Davies and Willie Jones did so against Essex at Brentwood in 1948.

The Richards and Dale show produced the highest fourth-wicket partnership in United Kingdom cricket behind Geoff Humpage and Alvin Kallicharran's 470 against Lancashire at Southport 11 years ago. Glamorgan made the highest Championship score this summer, with the admirable Dale following Morris to 1,000 runs. Two players from Glamorgan being the first to the target is something for students of the obscure but a proud attainment.

Middlesex heads dropped beneath the onslaught. Angus Fraser kicked the ground after Glamorgan took a third batting point, one run short of a full complement for the first time this season.

Fielding standards declined in the heat before Middlesex were reunited with the fleeting acquaintance of their own dressing-room.

The figures meant everything to Glamorgan: Dale's innings of 214 from 455 balls, included 22 fours. Richards made 224 off 357 balls, with four sixes and 28 fours, putting tennis players in adjacent courts and casual riverbank dog-walkers in unexpected peril. As for the game, Monday's play could be the deadest duck, or the stage for what seems an improbable Glamorgan win.

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