Lancashire 132 for 3 (Wells 65*) trail Middlesex 194 (Robson 86, Bailey 3-38) by 62 runs
In the first 90 minutes of the day, Middlesex added 62 runs to their overnight score of 132 for 8. Roland-Jones hit five fours in his 26 and put on 44 with Robson before he hooked Luke Wood straight to Wells at fine leg.
Robson went on to make a superbly determined 86 before he played on to a legspinner from Wells, thereby just failing to bat through a Middlesex innings for the second time in his career. His 341-minute innings, in which he faced 235 balls, had ensured that the visitors’ first-innings total retained a degree of respectability.
Lancashire’s openers, Wells and Keaton Jennings, began their side’s reply with a flurry of boundaries, some of them fortuitous, but they had seen off the new ball by mid-afternoon, by which time the score was 80 without loss and home supporters could be fairly optimistic that their batsmen might build the sort of lead that would shape the remainder of the match.
However, Middlesex made their first breakthrough in the 24th over when Jennings came forward to De Caires’ first ball of the day and was lbw for 29. Josh Bohannon tried to seize back the initiative by hitting the young spinner for a six over long-on but Lancashire’s No. 3 then made a fatal error when he made room to force a sharply spinning offspinner from Jayant and was bowled for 7.
In the next over De Caires took his second wicket when Phil Salt played a shade inside a well-flighted delivery and was bowled first ball. Having seen their side lose three wickets in little more than four overs, Wells and Dane Vilas set about rebuilding the innings and the pair took their side safely to 114 for 3 at tea.
At lunchtime, Stevie Eskinazi had been named as a concussion substitute, replacing Max Holden, who had been hit on the head during the morning warm-ups.