Ed Joyce was able to celebrate his call-up to the England one-day squad yesterday with a big hundred in the four-day match here. It was the third time he has passed 150 in his burgeoning career - one of his previous ones was scored here last year - and his third in all at the Walker Ground.
This innings, in contrast to what will be required of him by England, showed his infinite patience and powers of concentration - this effort has lasted a lot longer than the regulation three and a half hours allotted for a team's one-day innings.
Conditions were such that the new ball nipped around on the dry pitch and swung as well. It needed batsmen who were prepared to graft. And Middlesex found two in Joyce and his captain Ben Hutton, who added 131 crucial runs for the third wicket in two and a half watchful hours.
It was Hutton's first significant score of the season. He had originally dropped himself for this match but was reinstated once Middlesex saw the dryness of the pitch on the first day. He responded with his first half- century in the Championship this season.
But it was Joyce who went on to three figures, his second Championship ton of the season and the 16th of his career, displaying obduracy that will need to be lightened with a sense of adventure when he takes on the Sri Lankans.
Earlier, Yorkshireman Chris Silverwood admitted after his best return for Middlesex that he still harboured England ambitions. "It would be nice to make the England selectors look at me again," he said.
His spell of three for 11 in the morning brought his innings tally to an excellent 6-51 and prevented his former team-mates from picking up maximum batting points, something which Middlesex look very capable of doing this morning while Joyce is digging in.