Bad light denied Gloucestershire the chance of wrapping up their first
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win of the LV= County Championship campaign over Middlesex at Lord's
where the hosts go into the final day on 167 for seven.
When the sides trooped off under leaden skies at 5.40pm, the hosts
were still 122 short in their pursuit of an unlikely victory target of
298 and understandably it was the buoyant visitors who seemed most
perturbed by the decision of umpires Richard Kettleborough and John
Steele to lead the players off.
Given fair weather on Friday, Gloucestershire will start firm
favourites to secure their 23rd win in St John's Wood since 1879 and
their second in successive seasons, should they do so, it will be
largely thanks to the performance of their own 'East Ender', Gemaal
Born barely a dozen miles from the home of cricket at Whipps Cross
Hospital, the same maternity unit that helped the likes of David
Beckham and Graham Gooch into the world, Hussain was forced to move
away from East London to make his mark in cricket, initially for
Leeds Bradford University and Nottinghamshire before his switch to
Gloucestershire last year.
A muscular right-arm seamer, the 26-year-old revelled in the
overcast conditions at Lord's to claim four for 36 inside 12 overs that
thoroughly tested the Middlesex top order.
Batting 45 minutes before lunch after Gloucestershire had succumbed
for 223 in their second innings, Middlesex made a bright start when
England Test captain Andrew Strauss rocked back to pull a short one
from Jonathan Lewis for six into the Tavern Stand.
The Gloucestershire seamer had his revenge in his next over when
Strauss (9) again moved back aiming to force off the back foot through
the covers only to drag the ball onto his leg stump off a thick inside
edge to make it 37 for one at lunch.
Alex Gidman accounted for Owais Shah (16) four overs after lunch,
caught throat high at first slip after a leaden-footed lunge away from
his body and then Hussain came into his own to have left-hander Scott
Newman (42) caught in the cordon after a similar, airy drive.
It took a much better delivery from Gidman, a lifting leg-cutter, to
prize out Sam Robson (4) to a sharp low catch at second slip and, three
overs later, John Simpson had his middle stump plucked out by Steve
Kirby after he too played on.
In amongst the Middlesex batting debacle, the elegant left-hander
Dawid Malan continued to go for his strokes and deservedly reached a 79-ball half-century with eight fours as he and Gareth Berg added 39 for
the sixth wicket either side of tea.
Berg (24) nicked a leg-glance to keeper keeper Jonathan Batty to give Hussain his
fourth victim of the day two overs after the resumption then, after the first break for poor light, Kirby ended Malan's 142-minute stay for 60
through another catch by Batty.