A record opening stand between Chris Rogers and Sam Robson saw Middlesex fight back on day three of their LV = County Championship match with Surrey as the home side finished on 283/2 and a lead of 111 after being made to follow-on.
Rogers (131 not out) and Robson (129) broke a 106 year old record for the highest opening stand by a Middlesex pair against their south London rivals.
The stand of 259, which was eventually broken by Zander de Bruyn when he had Robson caught behind, broke the previous record of 232 set by Pelham Warner and Johnny Douglas at the Oval in 1907.
Captain Rogers, who strode from the Lord’s outfield with night watchman Steven Finn, will be thinking what difference a day makes as his team have given themselves a real chance of a securing a draw and maybe even a dramatic win.
It did not start well for the home side in the morning. Still needing 28 to avoid the follow on number eleven Corey Colleymore was trapped lbw by de Bruyn as Surrey wrapped up the Middlesex's first innings for just 166.
With rain in the air and grey skies around St John's Wood it was no surprise when Graeme Smith asked his opposite number to put his pads on again. But Surrey made no inroads as Rogers and Robson survived a tricky spell in the morning before rain meant an early lunch was called.
Nothing would suggest what was about to follow as the Australian duo went about compiling their record-breaking partnership as the skies turned from grey to golden during the afternoon and evening sessions.
Surrey’s attack was ineffectual and Smith may have rued his decision to enforce the follow-on. However, such arguments would not do justice to the fine centuries from the pair, who incidentally both reached the hundred mark in exactly 185 deliveries.
Robson finally fell late after tea and Joe Denly’s mixed start to the season continued as he could only muster 13 before being caught by Vikram Solanki off Jade Dernbach.
But there were to be no more scalps for Surrey as Rogers and Finn negotiated the final few overs in the late evening shadows to makes sure that we head into the final day with all three results still possible.