Middlesex v Northants: Chris Rogers shines as bowlers toil
|LV= County Championship Division One, Lord's|
|Close, day one: Middlesex 280-3 v Northants|
|Middlesex 2pts; Northants 1pt|
A stand of 128 between openers Chris Rogers (86) and debutant Nick Gubbins (54) helped Middlesex pile up 280-3 against Northants at a rain-hit Lord's.
Gubbins, 20, struck six fours and a six before top-edging Mohammad Azharullah to Maurice Chambers at mid-on.
Left-hander Rogers looked set for a ton until he was clean bowled by Steven Crook, having hit 10 fours and a six.
Eoin Morgan (27) fell to Andrew Hall in the final session, but Dawid Malan (72 not out) kept Middlesex in charge.
Northants won the toss and put Middlesex in, but they were soon regretting their decision as the runs flowed and the fifty came up in the 16th over and the 100 partnership in the 30th.
When Gubbins's stay was finally ended after 113 balls, the visitors would have hoped to make more quick inroads.
But they had to wait until the score was advanced to 168 before Rogers was second out and even then the Middlesex progress could not be stifled.
Malan and Morgan put on a further 62 and moved the score on to 230 without too many problems, despite several stoppages for rain.
Morgan eventually played on but, as the skies cleared, Malan began to find the boundary with increasing frequency.
He found another able partner in Neil Dexter (19 not out), the pair adding an unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 50 before the close.
BBC London 94.9's Kevin Hand:
"Middlesex made Northants pay for an odd decision to field first as they moved towards what will surely be a daunting first-innings total.
"Nick Gubbins nearly ran out his skipper in taking his first run on debut, and survived a poor drop at gully, but otherwise impressed for his half century. Chris Rogers looked in top form before playing around a full delivery from fellow Australian and ex-Middlesex team-mate Steven Crook.
"Dawid Malan's continued return to form in the Championship saw him hit a fine 50 with some trademark exquisite drives square of the wicket, while Eoin Morgan will be disappointed with his dismissal as he was tucked up for room.
"The pitch has a greenish tinge, but has played true. Spin is likely to come into play on the final days, which makes Northants' decision to insert the hosts even more confusing."