Middlesex 80-4 v Lancashire
Acting captain Adam Voges and keeper-batsman John Simpson set about
salvaging the Middlesex first innings after the hosts slid to 28 for
four at the start of their Specsavers County Championship match with
Lancashire at Lord’s.
The fifth-wicket pair survived through to lunch, adding an unbroken 52
to reach 80 for four after 29 overs and the first interval of a game
that Middlesex dare not lose as they bid to beat the drop to Division
The 2016 champions had hoped that a haul of nine points from their
rain-ruined draw with Hampshire at Uxbridge last week coupled with a
strong performance here might be enough to stave off the threat of
relegation, yet their poor start once again raised fears of second
tier cricket next summer.
Middlesex dropped captain James Franklin through lack of form and his
deputy, Adam Voges’ first job was to elect to bat first after winning
the toss. On seeing a cracked Lord’s pitch, Voges seemingly thought
that batting last on such a surface would prove very tricky. Yet
batting first was no walk in the park either.
The Middlesex demise started as early as the eighth ball of the match
when Nick Compton’s miserable run of form continued with a second ball
duck. Jumping back and across his stumps and working to leg, the
former England opener missed to be adjudged lbw to Ryan McLaren.
The South Africa all-rounder struck again in his third over to dismiss
Sam Robson with a leg-cutter that Robson followed and snicked to the
keeper Alex Davies.
The home demise continued when Stevie Eskinazi (7) followed a lifting
leg-cutter from Tom Bailey to edge to third slip, then Bailey struck
again to claim the prized scalp of Dawid Malan for 12. Caught on the
crease, the left-hander sparred at one on a ‘fourth stump line’ to be
given out by umpire Neil Mallender to a catch at the wicket. Malan
shook his head before trudging off, clearly believing he had missed
John Simpson might have followed him for 12 after feathering one
behind from Bailey, only to see Davies, the wicketkeeper, down a
tumbling chance with the Middlesex total on 44 for four.