County Championship round-up: Middlesex, not Surrey, have the look of capital champions in the making
Thursday 16 May 2013
Display of the day
Whisper it quietly but it is Middlesex, not Surrey, who have the look of capital champions in the making. Despite the heroic efforts of Jamie Overton, the 19-year-old Somerset seamer who took a career-best 6 for 95, Middlesex are heading for a third win in five matches after bowling out Somerset for 152 and reducing them to a quivering 42 for 5 after enforcing the follow-on, with Tim Murtagh taking eight wickets in the day. And with Adam Voges signed up to replace Chris Rogers during the Ashes and Eoin Morgan due back soon to bolster the middle order, they look like the team to beat.
Batsman of the day
Ravi Bopara never seems to leave the selectors' thoughts, regardless of what issues may distract him, as his surprise inclusion in the Champions Trophy squad confirmed. The heady days of 2009 – the year of his three consecutive Test hundreds – may never return but he retains the happy knack of catching the eye, as he did at Cardiff, where the 23rd first-class hundred of his career – and the first since last July – led an Essex recovery from 25 for three to gain the upper hand.
Catch of the day
There are few better slip catchers around the county circuit than Rikki Clarke, who is the most genuine of genuine all-rounders. His career so far consists of 7,695 first-class runs, 251 wickets and 240 catches, the latest of which was a stunning reflex effort to give Jeetan Patel the wicket of Andrew Gale at Edgbaston. The Yorkshire captain made 40, his highest score of the season in a lean run that has seen him pass 50 only once in 21 first-class innings, although it was an innings not without good fortune when he was dropped at point off Chris Woakes on 14 and caught at long-leg on 19 only for Woakes, the fielder this time, to step over the rope.
Bowler of the day
Chris Jordan's career has picked up nicely since his move from Surrey to Sussex, with two five-wicket hauls and a career-best 6 for 48 already adorning his record. Today he showed himself to be no mug with the bat either, scoring a career-best 92 in a partnership of 179 with century-maker Mike Yardy that gave Sussex the upper hand over Derbyshire.
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