Crook best directs Northants to calmer waters

Andrew Hall's recent resurgence with the bat continued at Lord's ENGNNL00120130516181623
Andrew Hall's recent resurgence with the bat continued at Lord's ENGNNL00120130516181623
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Steven Crook scored a maiden first-class century as Northamptonshire comfortably avoided the follow-on against Middlesex at Lord’s.

On day three of the LV= County Championship fixture, Crook struck 131 - beating his previous best of 97 - from 124 balls as the visitors posted 384 in reply to the hosts’ 488-9.

The Australian added 144 with Andrew Hall, who made a season’s best 75, for the seventh wicket after the County had been reduced to 168-6, still 171 from reaching the follow-on target.

Middlesex then reached 30-1 at the close, for the loss of Chris Rogers, and they will start the final day with a lead of 134 and with nine second innings wickets in hand.

Earlier in the day, James Kettleborough had moved from his overnight 42 to 73, reaching his maiden half century at this level in the process, before he became one of Steven Finn’s four victims.

On a good surface, the draw now looks favourite, a result, should it transpire, which would end the County’s record of seven straight defeats.