KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
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MCC fought back well on day three of the Champion County match in Abu Dhabi to close on 308 for 4 in their second innings, having been asked to follow-on. Jim Troughton’s Warwickshire side still remain favourites to complete the victory tomorrow, however a superb unbeaten 119 from Joe Denly, 89 from Sam Northeast, and a cameo 57 not out from just 50 balls by Peter Trego, has helped to renew hope in the MCC dressing room for an unlikely draw.
Earlier in the day it took Warwickshire just 16.4 overs to wrap-up MCC’s first innings, dismissing Dale Benkenstein’s side for a below-par 130 and enforcing the follow-on. Chris Wright (5-35) struck with his twelfth ball of the day, bowling Steve Kirby for 9 to claim his seventh First Class five wicket haul. The return of Joe Denly to the crease, having retired due to illness yesterday evening, prompted a mini recovery for MCC, as the Middlesex batsman shared a ninth wicket partnership of 52 with James Middlebrook. However, the reintroduction of Oliver Hannon-Dalby (3-30) to the bowling attack resulted in the last two wickets falling in two balls, as he first trapped Denly LBW for an innings top score of 47, and then cleaned-up MCC’s number eleven Chris Rushworth first ball. Middlebrook was the unbeaten batsman, finishing on 29 not out from 83 balls.
Following-on 431 runs behind, MCC lost opener Jimmy Adams for 9 in the ninth over, caught by Ian Westwood at short leg off the bowling of Paul Best. This brought Joe Denly back to the crease for the third time in the match and the second time in under an hour to join Sam Northeast with the score on 25 for 1. The pair proceeded to successfully negotiate the remaining four overs bowled before lunch, moving the scoreboard along to 47 for 1.
After the break both batsmen continued to look comfortable, registering their respective half centuries, and playing without alarm for the majority of the middle session. However, with just one over to go until the tea interval Northeast mistimed a pull shot against Warwickshire’s first innings hero Chris Wright, to fall for 89, caught at deep backward square by Hannon-Dalby. This ended a fighting 156 run second wicket partnership, and brought MCC captain Dale Benkenstein to the crease. Having registered an eleven ball duck in the first innings, Benkenstein got off the mark first ball second time around, with a confident pull shot in front of square for four, as MCC finished the session on 187 for 2.
Benkenstein’s time in the middle was however short lived as he was bowled by the first ball of the final session, delivered by seamer Rikki Clarke, for 5. New batsman Dawid Malan worked hard under the floodlights, scoring 28 from 64 balls, before he was dismissed, edging Hannon-Dalby to substitute wicket-keeper Peter McKay, who had taken the gloves from the injured Tim Ambrose in the fourteenth over of the innings.
With the score on 229 for 4 Somerset’s Peter Trego batted confidently from the moment he walked out to the middle, flamboyantly bringing up his half century with a towering six over midwicket, to finish the day not out on 57 from just 50 balls. It was Denly’s day however, as he closed his second innings unbeaten on 119, having guided MCC to 308 for 4.
Speaking at the close of play, MCC and Middlesex’s Joe Denly said:
“It’s been a good day. I was disappointed to get out in the first innings the way I did, but I was very happy to spend some time out there second time around and get some runs.
“I didn’t really notice any change in the conditions during the day. Under the lights it skidded on a bit quicker, but this actually helped it to come on the bat quite nicely. In terms of the ball moving sideways or swinging, it was pretty consistent all day.
“If we can get another couple of big partnerships tomorrow to keep them out in the field for a bit longer, hopefully we can come away with a positive result.”
- Ends -
Notes to editors:
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