Middlesex fight back at Gloucestershire

Max Holden batting
Middlesex batter Max Holden scored an unbeaten 211 in round two against Northants [Getty Images]

Vitality County Championship Division Two, Seat Unique Stadium, Bristol (day three)

Middlesex 203 & 262-3: Holden 105*, Higgins 102*

Gloucestershire 322: Hammond 81; Brookes 3-55

Middlesex (3 pts) lead Gloucestershire (5 pts) by 143 runs

Match scorecard

Centuries from Max Holden and Ryan Higgins dug Middlesex out of a hole on the third day of their County Championship Division Two match against Gloucestershire.

Having conceded a first innings lead of 119 by bowling out their opponents for 322 from an overnight 271-6, the visitors slipped to 9-2 in their second innings before Holden (105 not out), Leus du Plooy (30) and Higgins (102 not out) launched a powerful fightback.

By the close, Middlesex had posted 262-3, Holden and Higgins sharing an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 183, and had a lead of 143, leaving all three results possible on the final day.

Middlesex needed to make good use of the second new ball, available when play began an hour late due to overnight rain, to restrict Gloucestershire’s first innings lead.

Ben Charlesworth, batting with Ollie Price as runner because of an ankle injury, and Zaman Akhter had extended their seventh-wicket stand to 71 when the latter tried one drive too many and was bowled by Tom Helm.

The hosts were unable to build at the start of the afternoon session as Henry Brookes struck three times in an over.

Charlesworth skied to mid-off where Holden took a fine tumbling catch, Marchant de Lange swung in trademark fashion and went third ball, before Dom Goodman edged a catch to third slip to end the innings.

Gloucestershire’s seamers were soon making inroads, with Nathan Fernandes making just five when he was caught at mid-wicket.

It was 9-2 when Mark Stoneman departed for a duck and Du Plooy came in.

Having helped take the total to 66-2 at tea, Holden and Du Plooy added only 13 more before the South African was brilliantly caught by Chris Dent at backward point to give Goodman a second wicket.

Holden moved to a priceless half-century, off 83 balls, and together with Higgins took Middlesex into the lead with seven wickets still in hand.

He reached his ton off 151 balls and Higgins followed to three figures with a pulled six off Ajeet Singh Dale.

Report supplied by the ECB Reporters' Network.