Fears that Middlesex's woeful form in Twenty20 cricket might be to the detriment of their four-day game as they switch from one format to the other can be discounted, apparently. They may have lost all five of their matches so far in the new Friday night frenzy but remain comfortably at ease in the calm of the Championship. After completely dominating the opening day at Trent Bridge, they have a platform upon which constructing a fifth win should be within their compass.
Most of the building blocks were put down by Chris Rogers and Eoin Morgan, who added 272 at more than five an over for the third wicket before Rogers, 20 short of a double hundred, was caught at deep point. The Australian opener, it is fair to say, has the measure of the Nottinghamshire bowling. In his last seven first-class innings against the county, he has hit 526 runs, only once scoring fewer than 50.
If the sight of Rogers plundering runs is a familiar one, less so Morgan, who had not scored a Championship century in five years until his 103 against Lancashire a month ago. Now, back in first-class action for the first time since then following his latest stint with England's one-day team, he has two in a row. Given that Morgan has focused so heavily on his Twenty20 career, there is a certain irony in that.
He turned this hundred into a career best in the Championship, hitting 27 fours and two sixes to finish the day unbeaten on 174. He played some good shots, of course, showing off his power and timing, but the bowling was ordinary, to say the least. The advantages that Chris Read might have imagined his seamers would enjoy when he won the toss on a cloudy, humid morning never materialised and all his bowlers leaked boundaries alarmingly, conceding more than four runs per over consistently.
Their fielding was none too clever, either. Riki Wessels, at first slip, dropped an easy chance offered by Morgan off Harry Gurney on 20 and Samit Patel, at second slip, missed Rogers on 89 off Peter Siddle, albeit a more difficult one, to his left.
Middlesex have not won the Championship since 1993, the last of seven supervised as coach by Don Bennett, whose passing at the age of 80 earlier this week was respected with a minute's silence observed before the start of the play. Might this be the season in which the drought is ended?
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