KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
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A century from John Simpson and three wickets for Steven Finn put Middlesex in a strong position on Day Three of their LV= County Championship match against Nottinghamshire at Lord's.
After Simpson made his first County Championship century since 2011 to help build a large first-innings lead for the hosts, Finn took 3/63 to leave Nottinghamshire in peril at 184/5, only 77 runs ahead with five second-innings wickets in hand.
Resuming the day on 296/4 with Simpson and Sam Robson at the crease, the hosts had sights set on widening the first innings gap, which was 30 overnight.
While Robson was out after adding 19 to his overnight score of 144, Simpson remained, and dominated the strike as Middlesex put Nottinghamshire's bowlers to the sword.
Despite an overnight injury to Gareth Berg meaning the all-rounder was unable to bat, Simpson marshalled the hosts' tail excellently, moving to a deserved century, his first in three years.
After the home side were eventually removed for 439, a first innings lead of 113, they soon made inroads into the visitors' batting line up, picking up both of the openers to leave Nottinghamshire in trouble at tea.
Despite Michael Lumb being dropped by Eoin Morgan, he was soon trapped lbw by Finn for 37, who also took the wickets of Test batsmen Samit Patel (15) and James Taylor (33) to leave Nottinghamshire 120/5 - only 7 runs ahead.
However an unbroken partnership between captain Chris Read (39*) and Riki Wessels (20*) has given the visitors hope ahead of the final day, with their 77-run stand leaving the county 184/5, 71 runs ahead.
But Middlesex will certainly be the happier of the sides, and will hope to dismiss Nottinghamshire cheaply in the morning as they hunt their first win of the 2014 season.