County Championship round-up: Eoin Morgan hits first century for Middlesex in five years


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The Independent Online

Batsman of the Day

Eoin Morgan will leave for his latest round of one-day duties with England satisfied that he has one monkey off his back after turning his overnight 86 for Middlesex into his first century in the Championship for five years. It took him four and a half hours, although after getting there with his 12th boundary it came to an end rather quickly when he flicked at a ball from Tom Smith and was snaffled behind the stumps by Jos Buttler for 103.

However, a partnership of 124 for the seventh wicket between wicketkeeper John Simpson and off-spinner Ollie Rayner enabled Middlesex to declare at 459 for 8, with a lead of 174 over Lancashire, whose early-season form does not auger well for their survival chances after returning to the First Division under England coach Peter Moores.

Among Morgan's rivals for a Test place, James Taylor's quest for a first century of the summer continues to be frustrated. The diminutive Nottinghamshire batsman passed fifty for the third time in seven Championship innings so far only to be leg before to Northamptonshire's James Middlebrook for 78.


Worryingly for Graham Onions, who began the season, as he does most years, wondering why his outstanding county form appears to cut so little ice with the England selectors, the back injury that developed on the first day of Durham's match at Hove is enough of a concern to warrant a scan when he returns to the north-east. Onions missed virtually the whole of the 2010 season with a back injury picked up on tour with England in Bangladesh, which at one stage threatened to end his career.

Durham ended day three against Sussex trailing by 368 runs but Scott Borthwick and Kumar Sangakkara, the latter playing the second of his two matches for Durham, have added 103 for the third wicket, with Borthwick needing 16 more to complete his fifth first-class hundred.