Law hands out punishment to Middlesex

Lancashire 366-3 v Middlesex
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The Independent Online


It was a day when the long arm of the law failed to arrest the strong arm of Law. Despite the best efforts of the former policeman Joe Dawes, no one and nothing was going to stop Stuart Law.



It was a day when the long arm of the law failed to arrest the strong arm of Law. Despite the best efforts of the former policeman Joe Dawes, no one and nothing was going to stop Stuart Law.

Lancashire's Queenslander had a terrible winter in Australia, averaging 18 with the bat. Yesterday he found himself up against Dawes, who was the third highest wicket-taker in the recent Australian season and who also averaged 18 – with the ball. But right, and might, was with Law. As manfully as the burly Dawes thundered in for not very many runs, the canny Law was the equal of it.

Law bided his time, picking off his runs from the other end and from other bowlers, among them Imran Tahir, the leg-spinner from Pakistan signed up this week by Middlesex as a replacement for Phil Tufnell.

Law's exquisite driving brought him his first century since last August, also his first against Middlesex and his maiden one at Lord's. He offered just one chance, a sharp one, on 64, to Owais Shah at slip off Paul Weekes.

Law shared in an absorbing record fourth-wicket stand for Lancashire against Middlesex with Mark Chilton, who reached his first Championship hundred for two years and only the fifth of his first class career.

Their joint effort, an unbroken 246 in 75 overs, was a record for all wickets against Middlesex having comfortably eclipsed the previous fourth-wicket mark of 171 set by Cyril Washbrook and another Aussie, Ken Grieves in 1955.

Middlesex did their best. They had nipped out Iain Sutcliffe early on just 27. Alec Swann fell to the worthy Dawes just before lunch and in between Imran claimed the wicket of Mal Loye, in his first over.

And if there was a degree of doubt as to whether Loye had actually got any bat on the ball, or if it had, as many suspected, merely bounced off his boot into the reliable hands of Ben Hutton at silly mid-off, it was soon forgotten as Law emerged and the Middlesex troubles began.

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