Somerset v Middlesex: Hildreth hundred puts visitors on back foot
|LV= County Championship Division One, Taunton|
|Close, day two: Somerset 523-9 dec v Middlesex 64-7|
|Somerset 5pts, Middlesex 1pt|
James Hildreth hit his first century of the summer to put Middlesex under severe pressure on day two at Taunton.
The Somerset batsman was at the crease for over seven and a half hours to make 182 as they totalled 523-9 declared.
Hildreth hit 22 fours and shared partnerships of 170 and 144 with Peter Trego (91) and Craig Overton (63).
Middlesex then lost four wickets to the new ball, two each for Trego and Alfonso Thomas, and were 64-7 at stumps despite Eoin Morgan's 36 not out.
|Middlesex's lowest score against Somerset remains 52 all out at the Recreation ground in Bath in 1952|
Having only managed one bowling point, the visitors can ill afford to fail to register any with the bat as they are facing the prospect of a relegation head-to-head with second-from-bottom Lancashire at Old Trafford next week.
Conditions were less seamer-friendly as Somerset batted on for two sessions, having resumed on 266-5, with Hildreth capitalising fully on a lucky escape on 97 when he was dropped by Dawid Malan.
He struck 22 fours during his patient innings before top-edging off-spinner Ollie Rayner (2-101) to wicketkeeper John Simpson as he attempted a reverse sweep.
And Hildreth soon made a mark in the field when Middlesex began their reply after tea, taking a slip catch off Trego to send skipper Chris Rogers on his way for a single.
England's Sam Robson, Malan and Joe Denly also departed inside the first five overs, and although Morgan and Neil Dexter (14) added 45, the introduction of spin saw three more Middlesex wickets fall in the space of four overs before the close.
Somerset batsman James Hildreth:
"I was so nervous in the 90s because I have scored a century in all my previous seasons with Somerset and I knew that record might end if I failed to take this opportunity.
"For some reason, I changed my entire game as the hundred approached. I also wanted it more because it took me from 29 to 30 first class centuries in my career.
"The ball was turning a lot at the end of the day, so hopefully we can enforce the follow-on and put Middlesex under more pressure."
VIEW FROM THE COMMENTARY BOX
BBC Somerset's Stephen Lamb:
"Until today, James Hildreth was in danger of going through a season without a Championship century for the first time in his career, but in putting that right he has helped to give Somerset an excellent chance of winning this match and extending Middlesex's relegation worries into next week.
"The nervousness of nearing the individual landmark was plain as he was dropped on 97, but in eventually reaching 182 he shut the door on any realistic hopes Middlesex had of winning the game.
"Somerset were irresistible with the new ball, bowling fuller than Middlesex on day one and although Eoin Morgan remains overnight, it looks as though Marcus Trescothick, normally averse to enforcing the follow-on, will have an indisputable case for doing so."
BBC London 94.9's Kevin Hand:
"Given the relegation battle that Middlesex have been sucked into, they could not have suffered a more demoralising day.
"The four wins in their first six matches, that saw them made clear favourites for the title with the bookies, seemed a distant memory as a tired bowling unit were thrashed and Somerset racked up a score that felt about 300 over par.
"Middlesex must have hoped that was because the pitch had flattened out, but not so, as from the first ball of their innings Alfonso Thomas and Peter Trego had the ball singing much as it was for the first two sessions of the opening day.
"They now find themselves in desperate situation. There is surely no way back in this game and with a trip to their relegation rivals Lancashire in the final round next week, they must at least show some mettle before they arrive at Old Trafford."