Pooley prevails for Middlesex

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The Independent Online
Cricket

Gloucestershire 277-9 Middlesex 280-6 Middlesex won by four wickets

The pitch at Uxbridge had been used for Middlesex's recent Championship game against Lancashire and was very bare, but it did not back up local fears that it would not prove to be as full of runs as usual.

An entertaining 100 by Monte Lynch, enlivened the first part of the day and saw Gloucestershire recover from 76 for 4 to a highly competitive total of 277 for 9. Jacques Kallis followed with an equally exciting century for Middlesex although it was Jason Pooley's excellent 75 not out which saw them home with three balls to spare.

At the start, Middlesex lost Paul Weekes to the first ball of Mike Smith's second over before Mark Ramprakash began to entertain as only he can. Two short-arm pulls and an off-drive brought him 14 in three balls from Shaun Young.

At 87 in the 22nd over, Ramprakash came charging down the pitch to off- spinner Martyn Ball and tried to slog him and was bowled.

Mike Gatting was lbw pushing half-forward to Mark Alleyne soon after tea, but that was as far as Gloucestershire could go at this early stage.

Kallis reached his 50 with the first of two prodigious reverse sweeps for six off Ball. His 100 came in 137 balls with three sixes and six fours and then he, like Lynch earlier, was out to the very next ball after he and Pooley had put on 94 in 19 overs.

Keith Brown helped Pooley take the score to 232 when he was caught down the leg side off Alleyne by Jack Russell. Owais Shah played two lovely strokes before lifting Smith to deep square leg but Keith Dutch stayed with Pooley as first, 25 were needed from four overs and finally three from the last.

In the morning Lynch had come in at 65 for 2 at the end of the 18th over and watched while Gloucestershire fell to 76 for 4 in the 22nd over. In the next 27 overs he and Alleyne put on 116 runs with Lynch's 50 coming soon after lunch from 78 balls. Alleyne departed when he was caught at cover off the leading edge against Weekes. Lynch's response was to straight drive Weekes for six and then to hit Angus Fraser a massive blow over midwicket into the road for six. He was dropped at extra cover when 98 and reached his hundred in the next over from 107 balls.

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