Northants in the runs as Gloucestershire struggle

LV County Championship Division One, Bristol
Close of play, day two: Northants 557-9dec, Gloucestershire 172-7
Northants 7pts, Gloucestershire 2pts
Match scorecard
LV County Championship

James Middlebrook hit his second County Championship century of the season as Northants dominated on day two against Gloucestershire at Bristol.

Resuming on 381-6, Middlebrook helped extend his overnight seventh-wicket stand with Niall O'Brien to 187.

O'Brien finally went for 166, but Middlebrook stayed on to hit 109 as Northants declared on 557-9.

Gloucestershire then limped to 172-7 by the close, still needing another 236 runs to avoid the follow-on.

Middlebrook's highest score for his new county helped the visitors establish an iron grip.

But it could have been even worse for Gloucestershire, who at one stage slipped to 31-5 after Jack Brooks (4-30) took three wickets in the space of seven balls.

Former skipper Chris Taylor (54) and current captain's brother Will Gidman (72 no) led a spirited recovery with a stand of 115.

But the hosts still trail by 385 runs with just three first innings wickets remaining.