White holds Middlesex together against Gloucestershire
- Credit: PA
Robbie White registered his fourth consecutive half-century to hold Middlesex’s innings together as they clambered to 210 all out in their LV= County Championship clash against Gloucestershire at Lord’s.
White was the only batsman to look comfortable against Gloucestershire’s seam attack, but he was denied another tilt at a maiden first-class hundred after being left high and dry with an unbeaten 76.
David Payne finished with five for 31, his best figures of the season, while Ryan Higgins and Matt Taylor picked up two wickets apiece.
In reply, Gloucestershire lost captain Chris Dent, run out attempting a rash single to midwicket, but Kraigg Brathwaite and nightwatchman Taylor saw them to 19 for one at stumps.
With heavy cloud cover in the morning, it was little surprise that Dent opted to insert the home side and unleash his quartet of seamers after winning the toss.
Sam Robson and Max Holden grafted through an attritional 40 minutes before rain held up play and, when the action resumed, it took Higgins just two balls to make the breakthrough, trapping Robson leg before.
Holden was unlucky to be given out lbw shortly before lunch, offering no shot to a Taylor delivery that appeared to be sailing over the stumps.
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Peter Handscomb’s struggle for runs continued, the Middlesex skipper losing his off peg for 11 after an ill-judged leave to Payne.
The left-armer also picked up the wicket of Nick Gubbins, who was bogged down in making 18 before his outside edge flew to second slip, where George Hankins juggled but held on.
However, White timed his shots sweetly, cutting and driving with increased confidence as the overhead conditions improved and building a partnership of 39 with John Simpson.
That stand ended when Simpson, who had just driven spinner Tom Smith back down the ground for four, was pinned in front of his stumps as the next one kept low.
White added another 42 with Martin Andersson, who was lbw for 20 when Taylor returned from the Nursery End and then advanced into familiar territory, passing 50 by drilling Daniel Worrall to the cover boundary.
Payne’s inswinger castled James Harris – recalled following another injury setback for Toby Roland-Jones, who was due to undergo a knee operation – and he finished off the innings by dismissing Thilan Walallawita and Tim Murtagh in the space of three balls.
White said: “It was pretty tough work throughout, you never really felt fully in. I was just trying to soak up a lot of the pressure, grind out a score and get us up to a total that would hopefully be competitive.
“It’s been really nice to be playing consistently, I’m feeling confident and it’s nice to get a few scores. As a batting group we’ve been short of where we want to be so I’m just trying to battle through with the guys around me.
“We felt 200 was probably about par on that. We know we’ve got to bowl well – even though there is assistance there it’s not just going to happen and hopefully we can bowl them out for under our score and get a lead going into that third innings."
As for the news about teammate Toby Roland-Jones needing knee surgery, he added: “It’s just gutting – the whole squad’s devastated for him. He’s such a big person both on and off the field for us and he’s a massive loss.
"He started the season in great form and he’ll be really missed. We’re hoping he’ll be back fighting fit as soon as he can.”