County Championship: Stirling ton boosts Middlesex against Glamorgan at Radlett
|Specsavers County Championship Division Two, Radlett (day two):|
|Middlesex 410: Stirling 138, Robson 107; Labuschagne 3-52, de Lange 3-94|
|Glamorgan 112-3: Labuschagne 51|
|Glamorgan (2 pts) trail Middlesex (5 pts) by 298 runs|
Paul Stirling's County Championship best innings of 138 left Middlesex well placed as they piled up an impressive 410 all out against Glamorgan.
The visitors then reached the close at Radlett on a precarious 112-3.
After Sam Robson fell early for 107, Middlesex were indebted to Ireland's Stirling for providing the backbone of their innings, hitting 14 fours,
Marnus Labuschagne (3-52) and Marchant de Lange (3-94) then worked their way through the Middlesex lower order.
Stirling's knock, in his first red-ball innings of the campaign, comfortably surpassed his previous Championship best of 111, showing fine form ahead of Ireland's inaugural Test against England at Lord's in July.
With an awkward 35 overs to bat on a bright evening, Australia Test hopeful Labuschagne hit an attractive 51 off 66 balls to move past 700 Championship runs, before miscuing Steven Finn to cover to leave Glamorgan in trouble at 86-3.
Finn and spinner Nathan Sowter provided plenty of threat, but David Lloyd and Billy Root battled their way through the final 50 minutes without further loss, though both survived difficult chances.
Glamorgan need 261 to avoid the possibility of a follow-on, but a poor weather forecast could severely curtail playing time on day three.
Middlesex centurion Paul Stirling told BBC Sport Wales:
"It's always nice to get a few runs on board. I've been in relatively good nick. I'm just trying to continue that no matter what colour the ball is. It was tough up top, but the wicket became a bit nicer to bat on.
"Above 400 in any form you're taking any day, and then we'd take three wickets in a session. So, if we have them six or seven down at lunch we're in a strong position.
"Everyone's looking forward to that first Test at Lord's, Hopefully my form will last until that.
"It's brilliant to have that. I don't think anyone expected to be saying those words. We'll go out and enjoy the occasion."
Glamorgan all-rounder Marnus Labuschagne told BBC Sport Wales:
"It's a competitive game. We bowled very well and we were a touch on the unlucky side. It was disappointing to end up wiyh them getting 400.
"We came out well with the bat and three for 112 is a decent position with two guys in form. I was just trying to be positive and it's frustrating to get out the way I did.
"I'd love to keep winning games with Glamorgan. When you're batting well yourself, it makes it a bit more enjoyable, but team success comes first.
"At this stage I've got four more games, and it's great to help the club get in a position to potentially get promoted."