Marcus Harris’ 148 hauls Gloucestershire back into the clash with Glamorgan
Marcus Harris’ brilliant 148 brought Gloucestershire back into their LV= Insurance County Championship match against Glamorgan in Cardiff as the visitors had a near-perfect day with the bat after a poor showing in their first innings.
Starting their second innings 239 runs behind Glamorgan it was vital that Gloucestershire batted well, and the hundred from Harris and fifties from Chris Dent and Miles Hammond gave them hope of getting something out of this game.
Throughout the Gloucestershire innings the Glamorgan bowling attack struggled to find the control that they had shown in the first innings of this game on a pitch that appears to be flattening out as the match progresses.
When bad light brought the day to a close, Gloucestershire had reached 373 for five, 134 runs in front, with Graeme van Buuren and Jack Taylor the not out batters.
Glamorgan began the day on 388 for eight, 223 runs in front of Gloucestershire. They had added just 16 more runs when their last wicket fell with Billy Root not out on 117. This still represented a sizeable lead, and they would have been hopeful of making inroads in the morning session.
That was not to be, with Harris and Dent progressing serenely on a pitch that has changed markedly from an opening day where batting was a slow and careful process.
There was clear intent from the Gloucestershire openers who made a large dent in Glamorgan’s lead in the opening session of day three. The fifty stand between Dent and Harris took just 53 balls and they had reached 133 without loss at the lunch break.
It looked as if the opening pair would surpass Gloucestershire’s first innings effort of 165 but they came up just short. Dent chopped a ball from Timm van der Gugten onto his stumps when he was on 78 to leave Gloucestershire at 161 for one.
Harris did not make any missteps on his way to his fourth first-class hundred for Gloucestershire. In the first innings he made 59 but did not hit the ball to the boundary until the 92nd ball he faced. In the second innings he reached his hundred with his 16th boundary from his 131st delivery.
Gloucestershire erased the first-innings deficit for the loss of just two wickets with Hammond and Harris sharing a partnership of 111 either side of the tea break.
Harris was dismissed when he attempted to reserve sweep a Kiran Carlson yorker and was trapped lbw, with Hammond departing 12 runs later when he missed a pull shot and was bowled by Dan Douthwaite.
With Australia set to play the World Test Championship and the Ashes in England this summer this was a reminder of what Harris is capable of before squads are selected for those matches. With Harris rewarded with an Australian central contract, he is clearly in the selectors’ minds.
Runs from Van Buuren and Ollie Price took the lead past the three-figure mark but there is still work for Gloucestershire to do to prevent defeat.
Heading into the final day, a Glamorgan victory or a draw are the more likely outcomes, but with Gloucestershire in the lead and with batting left they may yet score enough runs for Pakistan spinner Zafar Gohar to pull off what would be a truly remarkable comeback win.
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