Middlesex hold the advantage after first day of Championship encounter
Specsavers County Championship leaders Middlesex enjoyed a good day with the bat at Emirates Old Trafford, reaching 258-3 by the close of the first day after openers Nick Gubbins and Sam Robson had compiled a century stand during the morning and afternoon sessions.
It leaves the visitors in a position where they can aim towards building a big total tomorrow, and they will no doubt be buoyed by the news that title rivals Yorkshire are struggling against Somerset in the match at Headingley.
Lancashire made one change with Jos Buttler playing his first Championship game since September 2014, that one also against Middlesex, replacing Jordan Clark with the Red Rose needing 20 points from their two remaining games to guarantee a place in the top flight.
Tom Bailey and Kyle Jarvis produced some tight, accurate bowling to pin the Middlesex openers Robson and Gubbins down during the early exchanges after Steven Croft won the toss and put the visitors in to bat.
Jarvis produced a couple of unplayable deliveries to beat Gubbings outside off stump while Bailey also came close to a breakthrough as the Middlesex pair scored just six runs from the first 47 balls of the day.
Runs started to arrive as the conditions eased, the fifty partnership reached in the 18th over with both batsmen looking increasingly comfortable as they negotiated their way to lunch on 93-0, striking some nicely timed boundaries during the second hour of the morning.
The hundred partnership arrived in the second over after the break, the fourth time this pair had compiled a century stand this season with both reaching fifties, Gubbins from 89 balls and Robson taking 111.
Lancashire’s breakthrough arrived when Gubbins mistimed a back foot pull off Jarvis after making 69, the ball floating gently off a top edge to Alviro Petersen at mid-wicket to leave the visitors on 127-1.
Nick Compton pulled his first ball from Jarvis for four but then went scoreless for the next 29 deliveries, inside edging a Toby Lester delivery with the ball dropping just short of Buttler, but Lancashire were soon celebrating a second wicket when Robson edged a drive off Kerrigan to Liam Livingstone at slip to depart for 77 with the score 151-2.
Compton and Dawid Malan responded well with a determined 97-run partnership in 34 overs either side of tea reaching their fifty stand off 73 balls shortly before the interval with Middlesex 204-2.
Compton then hit Kerrigan for the first six of the day at the start of the evening session, but facing a fairly unresponsive wicket the Lancashire bowlers generally stuck to bowling a good line and length to try and stifle the visitor’s run scoring and in this they were largely successful, conceding around just under three runs per over throughout the day.
Jarvis returned with the new ball to bowl Compton for 56, producing a fine delivery that nipped back between bat and pad to leave Middlesex on 248-3 in the 83rd over.
With the light deteriorating, despite the floodlights being used, play was halted for the day soon afterwards with the visitors well placed on 258-3 from 89.4 overs with Malan 49 not out and Steve Eskinazi 4 not out.
Photo © Simon Pendrigh