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    Sales hits a maiden century and Gay scores 261 in a high-scoring match for Northants
Sales hits a maiden century and Gay scores 261 in a high-scoring match for Northants
Emilio Gay brought up his double-century on the second day at Wantage Road. Source: Getty Images

Sales hits a maiden century and Gay scores 261 in a high-scoring match for Northants

On day two of their Vitality County Championship match with Middlesex at Wantage Road, Northamptonshire continued to dominate as Emilio Gay and James Sales both achieved new landmarks.

Gay, who had scored a century on the first day, went on to post 261, which is the highest-ever individual Championship score for the county against Middlesex. Sales, who was brought back into the side for this game, made his maiden first-class hundred with his father David and mother Abigail in attendance to mark the moment. The duo established a new fifth-wicket record of 181 runs against the Seaxes before the hosts declared at 552 for 6.

Middlesex, who had conceded 620 runs in the first innings against Glamorgan last week, found themselves chasing leather again. Toby-Roland-Jones was the only bowler to take more than one wicket, finishing with figures of 2 for 81.

In the evening session, two young debutants made an impression. Raphael Weatherall captured his maiden first-class wicket, while Middlesex teenager Nathan Fernandes reached an impressive half-century. Stumps were drawn with the visitors at 128 for 1, still 424 runs behind.

Middlesex made an early breakthrough on the second day, with Roland-Jones trapping Rob Keogh. Keogh risked censure by taking his time to drag himself away from the crease, shaking his head as he went - a point noted by the two umpires. But, as on the first day, the wicket proved to be a false dawn for Middlesex. Gayle and Sales began their record-breaking stand.

Gayle timed the ball exquisitely, driving straight and dispatching first Ethan Bamber, then Roland-Jones to the fence. He surpassed Stephen Peters' record score against Middlesex at Wantage Road, scoring 183 in 2010.

Soon after, he flicked a loose delivery from Tom Helm to the fine leg fence, reaching his first double-hundred and breaking Peters' record of the highest-ever score against Middlesex, which was 199 and was made 14 years ago in the same summer.

Josh De Caires missed a tough caught and bowled opportunity, giving the batsman a reprieve. In his defence, he probably saved four runs and avoided being hit by the ball.

Sales started his innings with a four through midwicket and later scored heavily off a De Caires over, hitting one just beyond mid-on's reach before driving a better shot straight down the ground. He reached his fifty from 109 balls. By lunch, Middlesex had raised the hundred stand as they rattled through 22 overs in the second hour to rectify a previously negative over rate.

Gay was given a second chance soon after the resumption when Bamber failed to hold a tough caught-and-bowled chance and celebrated the reprieve by hitting De Caires for the day's first six on the way to his score of 250.

At Lord's in 1989, David Capel and Nigel Felton set a record fifth wicket stand of 131 against Middlesex. However, Gay's innings was ended via a run-out, which came as a surprise.

Saif Zaib briefly sparkled, hitting a six out of the ground, before all eyes fell on Sales. Having already surpassed his career-best, the 21-year-old right-hander dismissed any thoughts of the nervous 90s with a huge six before a quick single took him to his century. The sparse crowd gave him a great reception.

The declaration came shortly after. Middlesex openers Mark Stoneman and Fernandes survived a testing 35 minutes before tea. Weatherall's golden moment came soon after the break. The youngster, who played in the England U19 Test on this ground last September, took just eight balls to find the edge of Stoneman's bat. The tickle carried comfortably through to McManus.

McManus dropped one catch but missed another chance when Fernandes was on 24, denying Weatherall a second wicket from his opening spell.

The left-hander took advantage of the reprieve and scored a half-century, including seven fours. Meanwhile, Max Holden survived a scare at short leg when he was on 35 and remained unbeaten on 40 at the end of the day.

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