Surrey 175-3 v Middlesex
Kumar Sangakkara and Dom Sibley rallied Surrey to 175 for 3 by tea at Lord’s, taken early due to rain, with their unbroken fourth wicket partnership of 92 frustrating Middlesex’s attack after the champions had chosen to bowl first.
Sangakkara, driving beautifully through the covers and down the ground, was on 51 not out with Sibley unbeaten on 44 – although both had enjoyed moments of good fortune on a fascinating opening day in the Specsavers County Championship Division One’s London derby.
Sibley, on 22, was dropped at first slip by Adam Voges off an unlucky Tom Helm, while Sangakkara could have been run out on 24 if Toby Roland-Jones, the bowler, had hit the stumps from short mid wicket after the Sri Lankan great had been sent back by Sibley.
Earlier, a spectacular catch at second slip by Ollie Rayner was the highlight of an action-packed morning session as Surrey slid from 55 without loss to 83 for 3 before Sangakkara and Sibley counter-attacked after lunch.
Rayner dived to scoop up right-handed and just millimetres from the turf an edge from Rory Burns that looked as if it could not possibly carry to the waiting slip cordon. That ended a defiant 33 from the left-handed Burns and gave James Franklin, Middlesex’s captain, the second of two crucial wickets with his left-arm seamers.
Franklin also pinned Scott Borthwick lbw for 8 with one that skidded on and defeated the Surrey No 3’s attempt to flick it to leg off the back foot, while Steven Finn earlier made the initial breakthrough by tempting Mark Stoneman, on 33, to chase a widish ball and edge to keeper John Simpson.
Stoneman, who survived a chance to gully when 20 during a testing new ball spell by Helm, had put on 55 with Burns after Surrey had declined the chance to bowl first themselves under cloudy skies – forcing a toss which Middlesex won, prompting Franklin to choose to bowl.
The surface, though, looked a good one although there was initially something in it for the faster bowlers and, either side of losing their first three wickets, Surrey’s excellent progress certainly supported their inclination to bat first.