Middlesex on top against Surrey in County Championship
- Credit: PA
Sam Robson and Robbie White led Middlesex’s fightback after Surrey seamer Reece Topley had ripped their top order apart in the London rivals’ LV= County Championship clash at Lord’s.
Topley’s devastating spell of three wickets in nine balls – including a third-ball duck for new Middlesex captain Peter Handscomb – had left the home side reeling at 16 for three.
But Robson and White, who ended the first day on 46 and 52 respectively, stabilised the innings with an unbroken partnership of 98 as Middlesex progressed to 114 for three, just 40 in arrears.
Earlier, Tim Murtagh starred with four for 28 and fellow seamer Toby Roland-Jones took three for 41 as Surrey were bowled out for 154 just before tea.
Rory Burns lost the toss and the Surrey skipper’s struggle for form with the bat continued after his side had been put in, making just eight before he edged Murtagh to second slip.
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Murtagh struck again three balls later, turning Hashim Amla inside out to pin the former South Africa batsman leg before and he almost collected a third wicket when Robson failed to hang onto a difficult low chance off Ollie Pope.
Pope, fresh from a double hundred against Leicestershire, signalled his intentions again with two sweetly-struck cover boundaries to reach 22 before he drove across a ball from Roland-Jones and this time Robson took a diving catch.
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Roland-Jones’ switch to the Nursery End paid immediate dividends, with his first delivery moving away from Ben Foakes to take the outside edge and reduce Surrey to 72 for four.
Mark Stoneman, who top-scored with 44, and Jamie Smith briefly threatened a recovery, but Murtagh returned after lunch to remove Smith and Jordan Clark in successive overs, while Stoneman feathered one behind off Roland-Jones.
Ethan Bamber and spinner Luke Hollman, on his first-class debut, picked up a wicket apiece, while Rikki Clarke batted sensibly for his 28 to haul Surrey above 150 before he was run out by Nick Gubbins’ pinpoint direct hit from third man.
But the visitors were soon in the ascendancy when Middlesex replied, with Topley having Max Holden caught at second slip before an unplayable yorker unseated Gubbins and then Handscomb lost his off stump later in the same over.
However, White dug in alongside Robson and outscored his partner, passing 50 just before stumps with a crunching cover boundary off Clark.