County Championship: Middlesex tail-end pair seize control against Somerset
|Specsavers County Championship Division One, Cooper Associates County Ground, day two:|
|Somerset 236: Rogers 57; Podmore 4-53, Harris 3-67, Fuller 3-72|
|Middlesex 361-8: Fuller 84*, Bailey 71, Harris 69*; Allenby 4-67|
|Middlesex 7pts Somerset 3pts - Middlesex lead by 125|
A remarkable ninth-wicket stand of 149 between James Harris and James Fuller put Championship leaders Middlesex in total control against Somerset.
Fuller made an unbeaten 84 and Harris 69 not out at Taunton to take the visitors to 361-8, a lead of 125.
Somerset made early inroads, reducing Middlesex from 51-1 to 133-6.
But the day turned when George Bailey was dropped on 43 - he went on to make 71 - and Middlesex added another 228 to day two on 361-8, 125 runs ahead.
Wicketkeeper Alex Barrow was the culprit, failing to cling on to a regulation edge off the bowling of James Allenby.
Medium-pacer Allenby had already played his part in running through the Middlesex middle order on a green surface, starting by removing Nick Gubbins, who was caught at second slip for 67.
After John Simpson was caught behind second ball and James Franklin bowled offering no stroke, it looked like Somerset would earn a healthy lead.
But the reprieved Bailey found support from Ollie Rayner, then Harris.
And after Bailey edged to first slip to give Allenby his fourth wicket, Harris combined with Fuller for the partnership that changed the complexion of the match.
Somerset could point to the loss of pace bowler Jamie Overton with a back injury and a very close lbw shout against Fuller by Peter Trego that was declined, but they also wasted the second new ball and ran increasingly short of ideas as the pitch flattened and the partnership progressed.
Harris was watchful, while Fuller danced to loft Craig Overton over extra cover and out of the ground for six.
By the close, Fuller had his highest first-class score and the pair had set a new Middlesex record for the ninth-wicket against Somerset, beating the 93 added by Evan Nepean and George Thornton in 1895.