MALAN TO THE RESCUE FOR
MIDDLESEX by Marcus Hook
Middlesex 225-9 v Surrey.
An unbeaten 62 from Dawid Malan countered a strong
mid-session performance by the Surrey seamers to ensure honours
finished even on a rain-affected opening day at Lord's, which ended at
7.00pm with Middlesex 225-9.
Having struggled, initially, to make
the most of the cloud cover and a pitch that offered some assistance,
the visitors claimed five wickets for 56 runs with Jade Dernbach, the
pick of Surrey’s attack, taking 3-33. But thanks to Malan, who was
supported ably by Tim Murtagh and Toby Roland-Jones, the hosts battled
back from being 129-7.
Having been put into bat, Middlesex made a promising
start. Joe Denly and Sam Robson appeared relatively untroubled. Tim
Linley, who was preferred to Stuart Meaker, conceded two boundaries in
his first over, but, come the eleventh, Denly went caught behind off
Chris Rogers also seemed to be in good nick, none more so
than when he drove Chris Jordan through cover point for four. But in
the 22nd over, the Aussie left-hander was undone by a delivery from
Dernbach that appeared to nip back sharply.
Robson and Malan saw the hosts safely through to
lunch, but a heavy shower during the break led to a 75-minute delay
and the loss of twelve overs. When play resumed, Surrey came out
firing on all cylinders. Robson had his off stump plucked out by
Linley, then Dernbach found himself on a hat-trick when Neil Dexter,
looking to leave the ball, played on and John Simpson presented Gareth
Batty with a routine catch at first slip to make it 92-5.
Nine overs later, Gareth Berg was bowled playing
across the line to Linley, who got one swing away from the South
African at the last minute to send his leg stump flying. Malan
despatched Jordan and Lewis to the cover boundary. But just before
tea, Ollie Rayner pushed down the wrong line at a Lewis leg-cutter,
which clipped the top of off stump, leaving Middlesex facing an uphill
Malan and Murtagh then combined for 53 in 17 overs.
Murtagh upper cut Jordan for four and drove Lewis straight back over
his head. But Murtagh's confidence finally got the better of him.
Attempting an expansive slog sweep,
he went lbw to Batty for 31.
In the 72nd over, shortly after hitting
only his fourth
boundary, Malan moved to a 143-ball half-century, which he celebrated
by pulling Jordan for four. Late in the day,
however, after holding an end
up for eleven overs, Roland-Jones fended Jordan to first slip to make