County Championship: James Bracey helps puts Gloucestershire on top against Middlesex

James Bracey (right) and Ian Cockbain
James Bracey (right) and Ian Cockbain were dismissed just 17 balls apart
LV= County Championship Group Three, Lord's, London (day two):
Middlesex 210 & 26-3: Robson 8; M Taylor 1-1
Gloucestershire 273: Bracey 75, Cockbain 51; Andersson 3-64
Middlesex (4pts) trail Gloucestershire (5pts) by 37 runs with 7 wickets remaining
Scorecard

England hopeful James Bracey top-scored with 75 to put Gloucestershire on top against Middlesex at Lord's.

Bracey, who was dropped on 36, went on to score his fourth half-century of the season as the visitors posted 273 for a first-innings lead of 63.

Ian Cockbain also passed 50 for the Group Two leaders, who are chasing a fourth victory in five games.

Middlesex stumbled to 26-3 in their second innings at the close of day two, still 37 behind.

With nightwatchman Matt Taylor (13) sticking around for almost an hour before edging Martin Andersson (3-64) behind, Gloucestershire made slow progress during the morning.

Sam Robson's sharp slip catch, leaping to remove Kraigg Brathwaite (33) just after lunch, was quickly followed by the dismissal of former Middlesex batsman Tom Lace, lbw to Tim Murtagh on his return to Lord's for just two.

Gloucestershire might have faltered had Andersson clung on when Bracey carved Murtagh to gully, but the left-hander capitalised on that escape, sharing a stand of 91 with Cockbain (51).

James Harris, who took some punishment from Cockbain, gained revenge by uprooting his off stump to bring up his 500th first-class wicket - and then took a diving catch in the deep to dismiss Bracey with Gloucestershire still in arrears.

However, Ryan Higgins slammed 49 from 43 balls to earn his side a handy lead of 63 before Ethan Bamber (2-34) polished off the tail.

Middlesex lost both openers early in their second innings, with Robson (8) lbw to Higgins for the second time in the match and David Payne (1-3) springing to his left to take a return catch from Max Holden (7).

Taylor cemented Gloucestershire's advantage late on by finding the outside edge of home captain Peter Handscomb (4).

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