Middlesex have fight on their hands admits Harris

James Harris of Middlesex (pic: John Walton/PA)

James Harris of Middlesex (pic: John Walton/PA) - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Middlesex seamer James Harris admits his side have a fight on their hands to avoid County Championship Division Two defeat against Kent at Canterbury.

The 2016 champions start the third day on 22-2, needing another 445 runs for an unlikely win after seeing the home side score 281 in addition to their first innings 241.

Middlesex had been skittled for 56 in their first innings, after struggling against the pink ball the night before, and Harris said: “Yesterday didn’t go to play from the start and we knew, after losing the toss, that it would maybe likely that we’d have to bat under the lights.

“The ball behaves differently at various times of the day and we’d have been better off match-wise is Kent had batted through and made 320, because it did so much at twilight on the first day.

“We did a pretty good job for much of the day until Grant (Stewart) came in and played that amazing innings. We’ll fight as hard as we can from here on and make sure we give a good account of ourselves.”

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Middlesex reduced Kent to 181-9 on Tuesday, before number 10 Stewart clubbed 103 from 74 balls, including five sixes and 13 fours as he dominated a 100-run stand for the last wicket with Ivan Thomas, who scored one run from 36 deliveries.

Stewart said: “It was all about the team and when you live by the sword batting-wise, you die by it too, so when I thought my time was running out I went for it.

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“I started off trying to hang around with Zak Crawley but I got a bit of a licence to have a crack at it once he got out. I thought we were going to declare after my 50 but Mitch Claydon ran a drink out to say I’d have another couple of overs and started nudging it around a bit after that.

“It was a great feeling to get over the line for the hundred. All the hard work you put in pays off in momenst like that and I was happy to help the boys get to a good total.”

As for his chances of forcing his way into the Spitfires XI for Saturday’s RLODC final side against Hampshire at Lord’s, Stewart added: “I think anyone who’s been playing in our south group games would feel really hard done by if I slotted in at the last minute.

“Obviously, it’d be unbelievable to play, but I can’t see it. I’ll happily run the drinks, but of course, it’d be great to play if needed.”

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