Shah leads Middlesex run blitz in opener

Four Middlesex players scored superb centuries as Ed Smith's side began the County Championship campaign with a monumental draw at Somerset last week - writes Jonny Weeks. Middlesex rattled up 600-4 in their first innings as Owais

Somerset 850-7d

Middlesex 600-4d and 209-2

Four Middlesex players scored superb centuries as Ed Smith's side began the County Championship campaign with a monumental draw at Somerset last week.

Middlesex rattled up 600-4 in their first innings as Owais Shah (193), Billy Godleman (113 not out) and David Nash (100no) displayed their skills at the crease.


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But Somerset plundered a record-breaking total at Taunton of 850-7 before captain and former Middlesex favourite Justin Langer declared.

The visitors then achieved an inevitable draw by making 209-2 in their second innings, skipper Smith leading the way with an unbeaten 103. He was followed closely by another impressive performance from Shah (72no).

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Middlesex had started slowly in the first innings with Ben Hutton out for 17, while Somerset seamer Peter Trego bowled five successive maidens from the Old Pavillion End, restricting the visitors to 64-1 at lunch.

When Nick Compton and Shah got going for Middlesex, they added 131 runs for the second wicket - before Smith came in for Compton and formed a third-wicket partnership of 157.

Smith was run out, paving the way for Godleman to make his County Championship debut.

Over days one and two, the teenager grabbed a century off 172 balls, with 15 fours, while Shah was eventually removed for 193, leaving Smith to declare the innings at 600 after 157 overs.

Murali Kartik, who joined Middlesex last month after playing for Railways in India, was the pick of the Middlesex bowlers when Somerset took to the crease for their first and only innings.

In all, he took four wickets for 168 runs in 50 overs, including that of Marcus Trescothick, who was caught at short leg by Godleman for 70. However, a benign pitch meant there was little joy for Middlesex on day three.

It was not until the start of day four that Tim Murtagh yorked Langer on 315, leaving the skipper 27 runs short of a county record.

Kartik bowled Trego, who was on a run a ball on 130, before Langer declared on 850-7.

Smith and Shah again combined well in the second Middlesex innings after Hutton and Compton had been removed for 10 and 15 respectively.

Smith reached his century off 106 balls with 18 fours, while Shah's 72 - adding to his previous innings score of 193 - earned a 10-point draw.

Hampshire 294-6

Middlesex 203

Middlesex removed Shane Warne for a duck but then felt his wrath as the Australian legend led Hampshire to a 91-run victory in the opening Friends Provident Trophy match on Sunday.

Hampshire were asked to bat first at the Rose Bowl after visiting skipper Smith won the toss. They scored 27 runs off the opening four overs, spearheaded by Nick Pothas (114).

Fortunately, Murtagh and Chris Silverwood took two wickets each for Middlesex.

New-signing Murtagh dismissed Jimmy Adams and then forced Warne to hit straight to Compton at long off the very next ball.

But the hat-trick went begging when Shaun Udal struck him for two successive boundaries the Hampshire innings closed on 294-6.

In reply, teenager Godleman struck Tomlinson for three boundaries in the second over of the innings before Tomlinson had his revenge in his following over when he him caught at the wicket for 18. Compton scored 10 before Shah joined Smith combined with a partnership of 56.

Smith top scored with 59, while Shah grabbed the second highest score of 32.

But Warne took three wickets for just 16 runs off six overs, leaving Middlesex all out for 203 off 44.3 overs.

Middlesex tackle Glamorgan in the Trophy at Lord's on Sunday.

jonny weeks@hamhigh.co.uk

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