County Championship: Nick Gubbins century helps Middlesex keep Yorkshire at bay

By Kalika MehtaBBC Sport
Specsavers County Championship Division One, Lord's, day one
Middlesex 208-5: Gubbins 120*, Malan 22; Brooks 3-45
Yorkshire: Yet to bat
Middlesex 1 pt, Yorkshire 1 pt

Nick Gubbins' century left Championship leaders Middlesex's game with second-placed Yorkshire finely poised.

Gubbins was dropped on 22 but reached his ton off 191 balls on day one at Lord's after the hosts slumped to 97-4.

Pace bowler Jack Brooks (3-45) continued his fine form for Yorkshire, trapping Sam Robson and Nick Compton lbw before bowling Stevie Eskinazi.

Middlesex collected their first bonus point before bad light ended play at 208-5, with Gubbins still there on 120.

Victory over the White Rose county will hand Middlesex the title for the first time since 1993.

But third-placed Somerset are now just eight points behind after reaching 322-9 against relegated Nottinghamshire at Taunton and picking up three batting bonus points.

Under overcast skies in London, Yorkshire chose not to contest the toss and gave their four pace bowlers a chance to make early inroads.

Brooks claimed two quick scalps as Robson departed for a duck and Compton left a straight ball that jagged back in before David Willey bowled Dawid Malan via an inside edge to reduce the hosts to 57-3.

Despite the testing conditions, 22-year-old Gubbins remained assured at the crease - despite being put down at point by Azeem Rafiq, who has signed a contract extension for next summer - and was particularly strong on the off side as he rebuilt Middlesex's innings.

He shared half-century stands with John Simpson and James Franklin and having grafted to reach 96, Gubbins opened his shoulders to pull Ryan Sidebottom over the square leg boundary for six to reach three figures.

Shortly after Yorkshire took the new ball, the teams were taken off as the light deteriorated with 14 overs lost.

Middlesex batsman Nick Gubbins said:

"I'll remember this knock for a long time but there's still plenty of work to do in the morning.

"I don't know what's going on at Taunton. Somerset have had a good day, it will be an interesting finish from what I hear.

"We can only focus on what we do, whatever happens, happens - it's going to be a fun week of county cricket.

"It's been pretty steady, let's see how day three and four goes. We can't look too far ahead, Yorkshire need to win as well."

Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie said:

"I thought we bowled really well all day. It would be nice to take the chances when they come though.

"The disciplines were excellent - you just have to look at the run rate. We'll bowl worse than that and be rewarded better.

"At the end of the day you've got to take the chances when they come - three they should have taken.

"The lads work really hard at their fielding, but it's not ideal to shell them on a day like today.

"We can't worry about what happens at Somerset too much - we've got to concentrate on what we're doing here. We've got a new ball tomorrow, and it will do a little bit off the surface early.

"We feel we can create a few chances - but we've got to take them."

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