Langer's century emulated by Law

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The Independent Online

Justin Langer and Stuart Law completed centuries and Glenn McGrath took four wickets for 10 runs as Australians dominated yesterday's first-class action.

Langer and Mark Ramprakash shared a second-wicket stand of 196 which helped Middlesex take control on the opening day of their County Championship match against Northamptonshire at Lord's. Langer, the Middlesex captain, hit 120 and Ramprakash contributed 93 towards a total of 282 for 3 before bad light brought a premature end to the day.

Langer rode his luck early on, edging through the slips at a catchable height when he had made 24. However, Langer's stroke execution was masterful and he reached his half-century in the first over after lunch, cutting Devon Malcolm for four to reach the milestone off just 43 deliveries.

Langer continued to dominate the attack and moved quickly on to his ninth Middlesex century.

Ramprakash reached his own half-century midway through the afternoon, having taken three-and-a-quarter hours to do so. He then played some glorious strokes, including three sixes in two overs from off-spinner Graeme Swann.

Stuart Law scored a magnificent unbeaten 120 from a modest Essex total of 216 for 6 before bad light cut 41.4 overs from the day's schedule in the Second Division match with Nottinghamshire at Chelmsford. He has so far struck 17 boundaries and reached his century from 114 deliveries.

Law, whose name has recently been taken off Australia's list of contracted players, and Paul Grayson put together a partnership of 126 in 29 overs for the second wicket.

McGrath ripped out four of the first five batsmen as Cambridge University ended the second day at 109 for 8 in reply to Worcestershire's total of 254 for 6 declared.