County Championship: Sam Robson and Mark Stoneman hit hundreds as Middlesex grind out draw against Notts

Mark Stoneman and Sam Robson
Sam Robson's century for Middlesex was his third in this season's Championship
LV= County Championship Division Two, Trent Bridge (day four):
Nottinghamshire 551-8 dec: James 155, Hameed 101, Mullaney 79, Patterson-White 50; Hollman 4-122
Middlesex 376 & 261-1: Stoneman 109*, Robson 108
Nottinghamshire (15 pts) drew with Middlesex (14 pts)

A century apiece for openers Sam Robson and Mark Stoneman helped see Middlesex home as they batted through the final day of their County Championship match for the loss of one wicket.

The result rewarded Tim Murtagh's team for fighting back from 106-5 on day three to post 376 in reply to Nottinghamshire's 551-8 eight declared. They were 261-1 when the draw was declared.

Robson and Stoneman, who had come through 20 overs unscathed against the home side's high-quality attack on Tuesday evening, won another battle by reaching lunch with their wickets still intact and put together a partnership of 201 before they were finally parted.

By then Nottinghamshire had opted to rest their frontline bowlers in favour of part-timers, accepting that the chance of a win had gone.

By the time the sides shook hands on a draw, captain Steven Mullaney had given at least an over to all his 11 players, including wicketkeeper Tom Moores.

Given the benign nature of the pitch, Nottinghamshire needed early successes if they were to put Middlesex under pressure.

But there were few opportunities, the clearest of which was offered by Stoneman off Dane Paterson on 19 but not taken by Liam Patterson-White at short midwicket.

James Pattinson thought he had Robson leg before on 39 when the former England opener tried to duck a ball that hardly bounced, but was judged to be clearing the stumps when it struck him. The Australian paceman had half a chance of a low caught-and-bowled in the same over but that too came to nothing.

Then Patterson-White and virtually the full complement of five close fielders went up in unison, convinced that Stoneman, on 35, had been caught behind. Again the verdict was not out.

The opening pair had added 59 more to their overnight score when lunch arrived at 122 without loss, by which time Ben Slater, the erstwhile part-time off-spinner, had just begun what would by some distance be the longest spell of bowling in his first-class career, stretching to 18 overs before he returned to more customary duties.

By then his fellow opening bat Haseeb Hameed was bowling leg breaks from the other end and Robson was celebrating his second century of the season - both against Nottinghamshire - having faced 247 balls and hit a dozen boundaries.

Mullaney took the new ball but handed it to Ben Duckett, another very occasional off-spinner, with a first-class wicket to his name for Northamptonshire in 2017.

To great amusement, he picked up his second with only his eighth ball, Robson tickling one down the leg side to be caught by a diving Moores for 108.

Stoneman completed his second century of the season off 281 balls. By then Joe Clarke had joined the fun, brushing the rust off his right-arm medium pace for the first time since he bowled two overs for Worcestershire in 2016.

As the clock ticked towards the moment the game could officially be declared a draw, Clarke donned the wicket-keeper's pads and Moores bowled an over of right-arm medium, the first of his career at any level of senior cricket.

Report supplied by the ECB Reporters' Network.

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