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Last Updated: Thursday, 31 May 2007, 18:31 GMT 19:31 UK
Langer tactic backfires at Lord's
County Championship D2, Lord's day two (close): Somerset 50-8d & 27-2 v Middlesex 252

Captain Justin Langer turned convention on its head by declaring with Somerset on 50-8 against Middlesex at Lord's.

By the end of day two, Langer's men were really struggling at 27-2 in their second innings, still 175 runs behind on a day when 16 wickets tumbled.

Marcus Trescothick, who made 12 in the first innings, was bowled by Chris Silverwood for a 10-ball duck.

Langer's declaration stopped Middlesex gaining a final bowling point, and his director of cricket backed the move.

Brian Rose said: "It was quite a brave decision that Justin took.

"He wanted to get the best of the conditions and frankly we had been struggling to put bat on ball.

"He thought he should give his bowlers a chance to put Middlesex under the same pressure.

"If we'd scratched around for another 15 to 20 runs it would have made next to no difference to the match."

Chris Silverwood (3-13), Tim Murtagh (2-16) and Alan Richardson (2-11) did the damage before Langer called his men in - but no-one seemed to know what was going on.

Groundsman Mick Hunt was not sure whether the players had been taken off for bad light and the covers needed putting on - or Langer had declared in which case the pitch would need rolling.

Eventually the message about the unconventional declaration got through despite the scoreboard insisting that rain had stopped play.

Langer's tactic back-fired spectacularly. The Middlesex opening pair of Billy Godleman (45) and Nick Compton (47) put on 97 for the first wicket, passing Somerset's total in the 17th over, before the Somerset bowlers finally found their line and length.

Thereafter a steady succession of wickets fell to former Middlesex player Peter Trego (4-54) and Charl Willoughby (3-48).

But the Middlesex tail wagged with Tim Murtagh (36 not out) and Chris Wright putting on 27 for the eight wicket and Murtagh and Silverwood 38 for the ninth with some clean hitting.

SEE ALSO
Somerset made to suffer at Lord's
30 May 07 |  Counties


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