Middlesex held up by Cairns' defiance

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reports from Lord's

Middlesex 587 Nottinghamshire 263-8

Middlesex were firmly in control at the end of the second day of their Championship match against Nottinghamshire at Lord's, with the visitors 324 runs behind and only two first- innings wickets standing.

It could have been worse for Nottinghamshire but for an excellent century from Chris Cairns - his first of the season in the County Championship.

Cairns came in when Nottinghamshire were 83 for 4 and immediately took the attack to Middlesex - he even hit John Emburey over the long-on boundary for the only six of the day.

He was fortunate to be dropped at deep square leg by Angus Fraser next ball, but that was the only good fortune he needed, and was 106 not out at the close, having faced 179 deliveries and hit 13 fours in addition to the six.

Cairns' domination of the Nottinghamshire innings was emphasised by the fact that their second-highest score came from 43 extras.

Middlesex occupied the first hour and a quarter of the day adding 87 to their overnight 500 for 6, with Emburey hitting seven fours in a 53- ball 43 before he was brilliantly caught and bowled by Andy Pick.

With the pitch showing signs of wear, Nottinghamshire will do well to hold out, and Middlesex must be strong favourites to gain their fourth successive innings win.

However, Phil Tufnell could be in trouble with the authorities once again after gesturing to the crowd following two no-balls which brought up the 50 partnership between Cairns and Wayne Noon. Barrie Leadbeater, the umpire, said a report would be sent to the Test and County Cricket Board.

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