Yorkshire will require a special day three performance – first with bat and then with ball – if they are to drag their Vitality County Championship clash with Middlesex out of the fire at Lord’s.

Shan Masood’s side are pinned on the back foot at the halfway stage of a bowler-dominated contest.

Bowled out for 159 on day one, Middlesex advanced from 84-2 overnight to 246 all out during the afternoon.

Yorkshire then closed on 216-7 from 63 overs in their second innings, a lead of 129.  

Jordan Thompson, Ben Coad and George Hill were the county’s main contributors today.

Thompson finished with 5-80 from 17.2 overs, while fellow new ball seamer Coad returned 4-59 from 20. Both then contributed lower order runs later in the day, Thompson with 26 and Coad 38 not out. They supported Hill’s unbeaten 52 off 125 balls.

There is no doubt Middlesex are in the favoured position in this third round Division Two fixture which is likely to finish tomorrow. But they will be aware that conditions are not exactly batter-friendly given no team has yet topped 250.

Jordan Thompson

Picture by Alex Davidson/Getty Images. Jordan Thompson celebrates a wicket at Lord’s. 

Yorkshire are absolutely capable of winning from here. 

They were tipped as promotion favourites – even champions – by many before a ball was bowled. And this is the type of game such teams go and win.

If they don’t go on to win, it doesn’t mean they will not fulfil their goal of reaching Division One. But a victory from here would certainly send a clear message.  

Yorkshire enjoyed a stunning start to the day, claiming five wickets in the first hour, including three for Ben Coad and two for Thompson, as Middlesex slipped to 136-7.

Thompson had Mark Stoneman expertly caught low down at second slip by Adam Lyth for 42, leaving the score at 97-3 in the 21st over – the first wicket of the morning.

The same combination removed Stevie Eskinazi, but not before Coad had bowled Ryan Higgins. Following Eskinazi’s departure, Middlesex were 115-5 in the 25th over.

Du Plooy kept Middlesex’s noses in front with a 43-ball fifty – he started the day on 23 – but Yorkshire removed him not long afterwards, bowled by Coad with one that nipped back.

Ben Coad

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ Ben Coad impressed with four-for. 

And when the same bowler trapped wicketkeeper-batter Jack Davies lbw in his next over, Middlesex were 136-7 in the 32nd over of the innings and still 23 in arrears.

Unfortunately, the hosts were able to steady the ship and claimed a first-innings lead of substance, owing much to the work of de Caires down the order.

Here is a batter who scored a friendly century against Yorkshire whilst playing for Leeds/Bradford MCC Universities at Headingley at the start of 2021. He has since gained more prominence as an off-spinner in Middlesex’s team.

But, as the son of former England captain Mike Atherton, it’s clear he has the batting gene.

He drove well down the ground en-route to his fifty, sharing 56 for the eighth wicket with captain Roland-Jones, who contributed a very useful 30.

They took the score to the verge of 200 and both offered half chances before Thompson returned to get Roland-Jones caught and bowled – 192-8 in the 42nd.

De Caires then added 41 either side of lunch with Tom Helm (17) and reached his fifty in 64 balls.

Josh de Caires

Picture by Alex Davidson/Getty Images. Middlesex’s Josh de Caires. 

But two balls later, he was caught behind off a beauty from Coad, a ball which was angled in and nipped away (233-9 in the 52nd over). Thompson then wrapped up the innings by bowling Ethan Bamber.

Unfortunately, wickets continued to fall, putting Yorkshire right on the back foot in the early stages of the evening having lost international trio Shan Masood, Harry Brook and Joe Root before clearing the deficit.

At 83-5 in the 32nd over, Yorkshire trailed by four.

Lyth was the first to go, caught low down at first slip driving at Roland-Jones eight balls into the innings before Shan Masood was trapped lbw by the same bowler four overs later, leaving Yorkshire 13-2.

Fin Bean (29) followed the same way to Higgins towards the end of the 21st over, signalling tea at 59-3 in the 21st over.

And when Harry Brook was the third lbw of the innings with the first ball after tea, the England star falling for a golden duck to Higgins, alarm bells started to ring at 59-4 and the deficit still 28.

Joe Root batted patiently as he looked to drag Yorkshire back into the contest, and he looked settled at the crease. However, in attempting to pull Roland-Jones, he gloved a looping catch to first slip, and the visitors were five down.

Yorkshire did recover from here to end the day with some hope of victory on a pitch which has offered a decent amount of assistance for the seam bowlers all the way through the fixture.

George Hill

Picture by Allan McKenzie/ George Hill reached a crucial fifty just before close. 

That is indicated by the fact Dan Moriarty’s two first-innings overs are the only ones bowled by spin in the game so far.

Hill led the fightback. Like Root, he was patient and played nicely against the swinging and seaming ball. He hit a couple of drives down the ground en-route to his fifty.

Alongside him, Thompson and later Coad both played their shots. 

Thompson hit back-to-back boundaries off Bamber in making 26 before being trapped lbw by Higgins, leaving Yorkshire at 164-7 in the 53rd over with a lead of 77.

Coad was also positive in helping to push the lead up beyond 100 before close, hitting seven fours in 28 balls.

Hill reached his fifty off 107 balls and ended the day in style by whipping Higgins over mid-wicket for four as Yorkshire reached 200-7. 

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