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    Ryan Higgins scores his first century at Lord's while the bowlers continue to struggle
Ryan Higgins scores his first century at Lord's while the bowlers continue to struggle
Higgins remains unbeaten on 127 heading into the final day. Source: Getty Images

Ryan Higgins scores his first century at Lord's while the bowlers continue to struggle

At Lord's, Ryan Higgins struck the eighth first-class hundred of his career, helping Middlesex towards the safety of a draw with a lead of 160 runs at 20 for 3 dec.

In his second spell with the Seaxes, the all-rounder took advantage of a benign Lord's pitch to score an unbeaten 127. This helped the hosts move closer to avoiding the follow-on after Glamorgan's steepling first innings score of 620 for 3. The hosts replied impressively with 460 for 5.

Wicketkeeper Jack Davies provided able assistance to the batsman, scoring 60 runs. Together, they shared a fifth-wicket partnership of 153 runs, which was formed when their team was still almost 350 runs behind. These efforts followed Mark Stoneman's dismissal, who fell just three runs short of a century.

This total marked the first time the home team had scored 400 or more runs in a first-class match at Lord's since they managed 485 against Sussex in July 2022.

Throughout the day, Glamorgan's bowlers persevered on a track that offered them no assistance and with a Kookaburra ball that quickly lost its hardness. Kiran Carlson was the first bowler in the match to take more than one wicket, finishing with figures of 2 for 89.

Despite the docile surface, Middlesex started the day at 138 for 1, trailing by a daunting 482 runs. They could have lost Stoneman in the first over, as an unnecessarily risky single almost resulted in a run-out.

Stoneman and the other overnight batter Max Holden remained unperturbed, with Holden smoothly moving to 50. Stoneman mistimed a drive when he was close to his hundred and was caught at cover, ending a stand of 120.

As is often the case with large partnerships, when one player falls, the other quickly follows. While Stoneman's departure could be attributed to a batting error, Holden fell to a well-executed plan, turning a ball off his hip into the hands of a judiciously placed Colin Ingram at leg-slip.

At 202 for 3, there would still have been jitters for a Middlesex side that only managed five batting points in their entire 2023 campaign, which ended in relegation.

However, in that campaign, Higgins was often the one to step up. He and debutant Leus De Plooy made it through to lunch without further loss.

Glamorgan took the new ball after the break, and their hopes rose again when De Plooy's innings was cut short on 37 by a delivery from Mir Hamza that beat the bat and trapped him in front.

If the Welsh county sensed an opportunity, Higgins and Davies joined forces to close the door. Higgins batted with authority, mixing aggression with controlled defence to pass 50 for the 27th time in his career. By tea, he was within sight of reaching three figures.

Davies was given the nod to fill the shoes of wicketkeeping legend John Simpson, now at Sussex, over teammates Robbie White and Joe Cracknell. He provided staunch support and reached his second first-class 50 early in the evening session.

Higgins achieved a significant milestone by scoring his second hundred in Middlesex colours and his first at the Home of Cricket. He raced through the nineties with an exquisite straight drive before punching one to the short boundary at mid-wicket.

Davies fell six runs short of a new career-best when Carlson picked him up lbw. By then, the hosts were within 45 of the follow-on mark.

Higgins remains, and with only 11 runs needed to avoid being asked to bat again, it seems likely that the honours will be shared ahead of day four.

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