County Championship: Middlesex batsmen prosper against Lancashire on day one

By Stephan ShemiltBBC Sport at Old Trafford
Nick Gubbins
Nick Gubbins shared an opening stand of 127 with Sam Robson as Middlesex started strongly against Lancashire
Specsavers County Championship Division One, Emirates Old Trafford, day one
Middlesex 258-3: Robson 77, Gubbins 69, Compton 56; Jarvis 2-54
Lancashire: Yet to bat
Middlesex 2 pts, Lancashire 1 pt

County Championship leaders Middlesex controlled day one of their penultimate match against struggling Lancashire, while nearest challengers Yorkshire struggled at home to Somerset.

Sam Robson made 77, Nick Gubbins 69, Nick Compton 56 and Dawid Malan was 49 not out when bad light ended play six overs early with Middlesex on 258-3.

Meanwhile, Yorkshire were bowled out for 145 by third-placed Somerset.

Lancashire, battling relegation, opted to field but bowled poorly.

In grey conditions at Old Trafford, on a surface that offered movement throughout, the home side struggled with their control of length.

New-ball pair Kyle Jarvis and Tom Bailey did make things difficult for Robson and Gubbins early in the morning but, after that, both openers played attractive cover drives in a stand of 127.

Gubbins miscued a hook off Jarvis to be caught at short mid-wicket before Robson edged spinner Simon Kerrigan to slip.

But Kerrigan struggled for the most of the day, serving up a mixture of long hops and full tosses and leaking almost four runs an over.

He was punished by Compton in particular, who regularly worked the ball through mid-wicket and danced to hit one six over long-on.

Compton offered one tough chance down the leg side to Jos Buttler, who was untidy with the gloves in his first red-ball cricket since October 2015.

Compton was bowled by Jarvis, the pick of the Lancashire attack, with the second new ball but Malan remains in the company of Stevie Eskinazi, with Middlesex well placed to post a huge first-innings score.

If they win and Somerset beat Yorkshire, Middlesex - who began this round of matches with a one-point lead at the top of the table - will probably only need a draw in their final match against the Tykes at Lord's to secure a first Championship title since 1993.

Lancashire, meanwhile, may need to win next week's final match against Warwickshire to stay up.

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