County Championship: Somerset's Tom Abell finds form in draw against Middlesex

Tom Abell
Tom Abell replaced Chris Rogers as Somerset captain in December
Specsavers County Championship Division One, Lord's (day four):
Somerset 443-9 dec & 161-3 dec: Abell 71; Stirling 1-25
Middlesex: 311-7: Voges 86*, Gubbins 56; Gregory 3-59
Match Drawn. Somerset 11 pts, Middlesex 10 pts
Match scorecard

Tom Abell ended his lean spell since becoming Somerset captain with an unbeaten 71 as they drew at Middlesex.

Middlesex began the day 132 runs behind on 311-7 after a weather-affected three days at Lord's and ended on 358-9, with Adam Voges retiring hurt on Sunday.

Somerset lost Marcus Trescothick to a second-ball duck, but Abell, who became captain in December, reached his fifty off 111 balls and with six fours.

With light fading, the captains shook hands with Somerset 161-3, 246 ahead.

Abell, whose average for the season has moved up to 20.88, was left at the close alongside Steven Davies (23) as the players went through the motions, while Middlesex brought on unconventional bowlers Nick Gubbins, Nick Compton and wicketkeeper John Simpson.

The two sides, who finished first and second respectively last summer, remain without a win in five Division One games this season.

A result had looked unlikely going into day four and despite James Franklin's best efforts, the Middlesex man was left stranded one run short of his 50 as Lewis Gregory (3-59) took his final wicket when Tim Murtagh edged to Josh Davey.

After Trescothick looped into the gloves of Simpson Abell, Dean Elgar (33) steadied things for Somerset and, although James Hildreth added 26, it was in vain.

Middlesex skipper James Franklin told BBC Radio London:

"We're four games in and still haven't got a win. We've performed well in a couple of games and in the others we haven't been at out best.

"That said, we've shown good resilience throughout and have earned a good reputation around the country for that.

"We've got a lot of cricket ahead of us and I'd like to think the first win isn't too far away. We can then build some momentum through June."

Somerset skipper Tom Abell told BBC Radio Somerset:

"We had hopes at the start of the day to pick up the last two Middlesex wickets as quickly as possible and to see where we stood, but they dug in and after that the draw was really inevitable.

"It was always going to be difficult to force a result against an attack of the quality Middlesex have. Expectations after last season were high and we've not lived up to them.

"Our batting has let us down too often this season. Every game is huge for us now, we got ourselves into this position. It's down to us now to dig our way out of it."

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