A disciplined Middlesex performance has given them the edge over Hampshire
- Credit: PA
A disciplined showing from the Middlesex attack has given the visitors the edge against Hampshire on day one of the LV= Insurance County Championship clash at the Ageas Bowl.
A gritty 35 not out by Kyle Abbott off 108 balls, helped the hosts recover from an ominous-looking 221-7 after James Vince had won the toss on a bitterly cold morning in Southampton and elected to bat.
The hosts withstood some tight bowling to be 77-1 at lunch with Joe Weatherley the man to depart after being brilliantly stumped for 16 by John Simpson off Ethan Bamber.
But after bowling well without much reward in the opening session, the visitors dominated after the restart as Hampshire lost 5- 125 with the recalled Steve Finn dismissing last week's centurions at Leicester Tim Alsop for 19 and Liam Dawson for 22.
Opener Ian Holland, who was dropped on nine, made Middlesex pay for that carelessness with gritty 63 before edging the impressive Toby Roland-Jones to Sam Robson at slip.
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Vince, fresh from his brilliant 231 at Grace Road last week, looked in superb touch with two sumptuous boundaries.
However, his vigil at the crease was ended for a run-a-ball nine when he attempted to cut a short delivery from Martin Andersson but could only find the hands of his Middlesex counterpart Steve Eskanazi at slip as the hosts slipped to 143-4.
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Sam Northeast steadied the ship with a classy 50 but wickets continued to fall around him with Dawson sweeping Finn, in his first red-ball match since September 2019, to Andersson at mid-wicket.
Lewis McManus then shouldered arms to spinner Nathan Sowter and saw his stumps re-arranged for four as Hampshire crawled to 202-6 at tea.
Northeast, who had looked relatively untroubled at crease, brought up his 50 off 74 balls but departed shortly after the restart for 63 when he played at a wide delivery from Andersson and Simpson took a smart, low catch.
Despite the floodlights being on and facing the new ball, the Hampshire tail showed some gumption, with Abbot and Mason Crane adding 31 for the eighth wicket.
Crane fell for 18 to Bamber, but South African quick Abbott held firm alongside an obdurate Brad Wheal in the final hour until bad light stopped play with two overs of the day remaining.
Middlesex bowler Steve Finn said: "The guys have gone at two an over today and that is an outstanding effort as a unit to keep them at under three and over for an entire day.
"It was pretty cold, the wind has picked up and it was pretty swirly so it was a good day overall and tomorrow it will be a big job to come back and take the final two wickets pretty early."
Hampshire batsman Sam Northeast: "It was tricky spell for us there at the end with lights on and the new ball and the lads did well to hang in there and take us to the close.
"If we can add another 20 or 30 tomorrow and move past 300 I think we will be in good shape."