THE vital County Championship match at Taunton had moved on at quite a rate by lunchtime on day three.
Hosts Somerset needing a victory to stay in Division One, went in search of quick runs under leaden skies against drop rivals Middlesex.
Skipper Tom Abell soon fell for 45 while James Hildreth went on to make a superb 109 before being dismissed by Paul Harris.
With wickets in hand, the Cidermen looked to accelerate things on the turning pitch. They dipped from 199 for 4 to 239 for 9 declared in just six overs but this was understandable given the indifferent weather forecast for the South West. Spinner Ravi Patel finished with match figures of 12 for 173 as the visitors were set a target of 345 for victory in a little over five sessions providing the weather plays ball.
A breakthrough came before lunch when Jack Leach, once again shaking off the disappointment of his omission by England, had opener Sam Robson snapped by Craig Overton at slip for his 47th wicket of the season with the score on 20.