Day 1 Stumps at Lord's: Middlesex 317-4 v Warwickshire
A sublime, unbeaten century from Sam Robson saw Middlesex take control of their opening Specsavers County Championship match of the season. Warwickshire, on the other hand, did not enjoy the day captain Ian Bell had envisioned when, for the second successive Sunday, he invited the home team to bat without a toss.
Warwickshire, missing the injured Chris Woakes (knee) and Boyd Rankin (side) went wicketless in the first session as Robson and Nick Gubbins, who made a stylish 68, punished the many loose balls served up on a sluggish surface. Robson, who had reached his half-century before lunch, cut and drove beautifully and was particularly severe on anything on his legs, while Gubbins wristily punished Warwickshire in front and behind point.
Too often, however, Warwickshire played to the pair’s strengths, and Bell certainly would not have planned for Jeetan Patel to bowl five overs before lunch, or been using Jonathan Trott’s medium pacers, either.
After lunch, the pitch appeared to quicken and Keith Barker troubled Gubbins, who despite reaching a fine half-century from 102 balls, was drawn into a wild waft at Chris Wright and the thick edge was well taken by Rikki Clarke at second slip. Nick Compton lasted just one ball, pushing hard off the back foot and being brilliantly taken by Sam Hain, diving to his left-foot at backward point.
By this stage, however, Robson had reached his first hundred since May 2015. He reached the milestone in 158 balls, including 16 fours, many through point. Anything remotely short was cut behind square for four – whether Bell posted a man to prevent the shot or not – and his organised defence meant he did not play at anything he did not need to. By the close, he had 175 fluent, attractive, unbeaten runs. Perhaps, with plenty of spots up for grabs in England’s batting line-up, Robson – who played seven Tests in the summer of 2014 – could yet stake a claim for a recall.
Robson had lost Dawid Malan, who left a delivery from Barker that took out his off stump, and Adam Voges, who was through his shot too early and played on to the same bowler, either side of the new ball, but put on a highly entertaining 54 in 13 overs with John Simpson as the shadows lengthened. Simpson rocked back and pulled Chris Wright into the Mound Stand to bring up Middlesex’s third batting point on what was emphatically Robson’s day.
Day 1 Tea at Lord's: Middlesex 200-2 v Warwickshire
Sam Robson reached a magnificent century as Middlesex's fine first day of the 2016 Specsavers County Championship season continued at Lord's.
Robson cut spectacularly and drove well on his way to his first hundred since May 2015, with the milestone coming off 158 balls and including 16 fours, many of which came through the point region. He was also severe on anything on his pads.
After a wicketless morning session, Warwickshire's bowling improved after lunch with Rikki Clarke extracting some bounce from a flat wicket, and Chris Wright beginning a new spell with the wickets of Nick Gubbins and Nick Compton in consecutive balls.
Gubbins had played well for his 68 - leaving everything he could and impressive through midwicket, but - having been dropped on 55 at fine leg by Wright - wafted at a wide one and was caught well by Clarke at second slip. Compton, having watched the first three and a half hours from the balcony, cut his first ball to point, where Sam Hain took a brilliant diving catch. Dawid Malan survived the hat-trick ball and Robson brought up Middlesex's first batting point with the penultimate ball of the afternoon session.
Day 1 Lunch at Lord's: Middlesex 120-0 v Warwickshire
Having been invited to bat by Warwickshire captain Ian Bell, Middlesex openers Sam Robson and Nick Gubbins made serene progress on the first morning of their Specsavers County Championship match at Lord’s.
Middlesex profited from helpful conditions – there was barely a cloud in the sky and the pitch appeared benign – but from some profligate Warwickshire bowling, too. Keith Barker was unable to threaten in the manner he had in taking 5-27 before lunch against Hampshire last Sunday, while Oliver Hannon-Dalby and Chris Wright – in the side in place of the injured Boyd Rankin (side) and Chris Woakes (knee) – were largely toothless. Bell probably did not expect his spinner Jeetan Patel to bowl five overs, or Jonathan Trott one by lunch.
Nevertheless, Robson and Gubbins batted beautifully, with the former reaching 50 from 72 balls. Both were strong on the cut and through midwicket, while Robson drove beautifully, too.
Middlesex opted not to pick a frontline spinner for their first match of the season, with Ollie Rayner left out.