STUMPS DAY ONE: MIDDLESEX 298-7

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An injury-weakened Surrey bowling attack fought hard to peg Middlesex back to 298 for 7 in the London derby after openers Nick Gubbins and Sam Robson had threatened to take control of the Specsavers County Championship Division One match at the Kia Oval.

Gubbins led the way with a classy 91, while Robson hit 53 in an opening stand of 126, but Middlesex struggled to capitalise on a tea score of 232 for 2 and lost five wickets in the opening day’s final session as Surrey emerged with real credit from what for so long had seemed likely to be a tough day in the field.

Seamer James Burke’s double strike, removing Dawid Malan for 58 and Adam Voges soon afterwards for 47, took all the momentum from Middlesex’s first innings and Surrey captain Gareth Batty then dismissed John Simpson for 12 after opting to delay taking the second new ball until the 95th over.

With his senior paceman Ravi Rampaul off the field for treatment to a leg injury, Batty chose to bring his own off spinners back into the attack and almost immediately had Simpson leg-before, missing a sweep.

Tom Curran, recalled at the other end, bowled Paul Stirling for 7 off an inside edge with his second ball back, and the 21-year-old seamer quickly added the scalp of Ollie Rayner, lbw for 6, as Middlesex’s slide continued apace. Curran finished the day with 3 for 80 from 25 overs of hard graft.

Batty ended up with 2 for 60 from 27 overs and earlier it had been the 38-year-old who began Surrey’s fightback when Robson skipped down the pitch to the fourth ball after lunch, was beaten on the outside edge and smartly stumped by Ben Foakes.

But Surrey’s only other success of the afternoon session came when the left-handed Gubbins, nine short of a maiden first-class hundred, mishit Curran to mid off where Arun Harinath scooped up a low catch.

Just before lunch both Curran and Harinath had been awarded their county caps as they left the field. Like Robson and Gubbins before him, Malan was also the architect of his own downfall as he aimed a loose back foot waft at a short ball from Burke and edged behind to Foakes.

He had added 72 for the third wicket with Voges but the Middlesex captain – back in the team after his enforced fortnight’s lay-off for concussion – was then undone by a full ball from Burke which was angled into his pads and had him lbw as he pushed half-forward. Gubbins, in his 22nd first-class match, played beautifully for the third score he has made in the 90s and hit 16 fours from 122 balls, but he was guilty of trying to hit across the line when he fell to Curran.

It was a fascinating day’s play and after conceding 22 boundaries in the pre-lunch session, including an effortless lofted straight six by Robson off Batty, it seemed as if Surrey would pay a heavy price for missing Robson on 9 when he edged Rampaul straight to first slip where Kumar Sangakkara spilled the chance.

Instead, it is Middlesex who will be kicking themselves for not taking full advantage of a Surrey attack further weakened by Rampaul limping off and already missing five senior bowlers with injury – Mark Footitt, Zafar Ansari, Jade Dernbach, Stuart Meaker and Matt Dunn, who failed a fitness test before this game.

Sam Curran, meanwhile, has A-Level study and examinations at Wellington College as his current priority. A day which began with the new-look Peter May Stand being officially opened before play by the late former England and Surrey captain’s widow, Virginia, provided a good-sized crowd with excellent entertainment in the sunshine. ‘PBH’ himself, one of England’s greatest post-War batsmen, would surely have enjoyed Surrey’s characterful fightback.

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DAY ONE TEA: MIDDLESEX 232-2

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Nick Gubbins led the way with a classy 91 as Middlesex dominated the opening exchanges of the London derby to reach 232 for 2 by tea on the first day of the Specsavers County Championship Division One game against Surrey at the Kia Oval.

Gubbins and fellow opener Sam Robson put on 126 for the first wicket before Robson fell for 53 to the fourth ball after lunch, beaten on the outside edge and stumped by Ben Foakes as he advanced at off spinner Gareth Batty.

But Surrey’s only other success of the afternoon session came when the left-handed Gubbins, nine short of a maiden first-class hundred, mishit Tom Curran to mid off where Arun Harinath stooped to take the catch.

Just before lunch both Curran and Harinath had been awarded their county caps as the players left the field. By tea Dawid Malan had also tucked into Surrey’s injury-weakened bowling attack with an unbeaten 55, while Middlesex captain Adam Voges – back after his enforced concussion lay-off – was 28 not out.

Their unbroken third wicket stand was so far worth 66. Gubbins, in his 22nd first-class match, played beautifully for the third score he has made in the 90s and hit 16 fours from 122 balls.

Surrey, however, had only themselves to blame for not removing Robson on 9, when he edged Ravi Rampaul straight to first slip where Kumar Sangakkara spilled the chance.

Surrey are missing five senior bowlers with injury – Mark Footitt, Zafar Ansari, Jade Dernbach, Stuart Meaker and Matt Dunn, who failed a fitness test before this game – while Sam Curran has A-Level study and examinations at Wellington College as his current priority.

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DAY ONE LUNCH: MIDDLESEX 126-0

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The official opening of the new-look Peter May Stand immediately before play was the only bright moment of a sobering morning for Surrey as Middlesex openers Sam Robson and Nick Gubbins took early control of the London derby at the Kia Oval.

By lunch Middlesex had reached 126 for no wicket on the first day of the Specsavers County Championship Division One match, with Robson 53 not out and Gubbins unbeaten on 70.

In truth, Surrey’s severely injury-weakened bowling attack did not look to possess the cutting edge required to trouble the Middlesex pair, who cruised along in the sunshine and hit 22 boundaries between them – including an effortless lofted straight six by Robson off Gareth Batty.

Surrey, however, had only themselves to blame for not removing Robson on 9, when he edged Ravi Rampaul straight to first slip where Kumar Sangakkara spilled the chance. Rampaul bowled a decent new ball spell, and Tom Curran was generally tidy, but support seamers Mat Pillans and James Burke were both inaccurate and expensive and Batty’s off spin also failed to slow the scoring rate.

Surrey are missing five senior bowlers with injury – Mark Footitt, Zafar Ansari, Jade Dernbach, Stuart Meaker and Matt Dunn, who failed a fitness test before this game – while Sam Curran has A-Level study and examinations at Wellington College as his current priority.

As the players walked off the field for lunch, both Arun Harinath and Tom Curran received their county caps – so at least they had something to cheer them after such a tough session.