Somerset 161-5 v Middlesex
Dean Elgar hit a determined 77 not out from 146 balls against Middlesex’s four-pronged seam attack to lead a Somerset recovery to 161 for 5 by the time heavy rain forced the players off for an early tea in the Specsavers County Championship Division One match at Lord’s.
Left-handed opener Elgar had added an unbroken 81 in 20 overs with Lewis Gregory, who was 27 not out having joined the South Africa Test batsman with Somerset struggling at 80 for 5.
When Tim Murtagh had Peter Trego caught behind for 2 from the fifth ball after lunch, it looked as if Somerset would be regretting their decision to bat first. But Elgar, mixing stout defence with 12 fours, at last found in Gregory a partner who could stay with him.
Four wickets had fallen in the morning session, with new ball strikes by Toby Roland-Jones and Murtagh initially leaving bottom-of-the-table Somerset reeling at 20 for 2.
Elgar and James Hildreth added 46 before Hildreth fell for 25 to a stunning slip catch by Ollie Rayner. Hildreth edged a drive at James Franklin’s left-arm seamers and Rayner, at second slip, took off to his right to hold a brilliant diving catch.
Tom Helm, switched to the Pavilion End for his second spell, then had Steven Davies caught at the wicket for 6 – edging a sharply rising ball – and Somerset lunched at 78 for 4.
Marcus Trescothick was the first Somerset batsman to depart, caught at third slip for 8 off Roland-Jones after playing and missing several times at Murtagh, who then produced a perfect away-swinger from the Nursery End to have Tom Abell taken at the wicket for 6.