England stars present and one for the future put Middlesex on front foot. 1

 In MIDDLESEX CCC, Recent

                    MIDDLESEX   356-6    GLOUCESTERSHIRE

                  Specsavers County Championship  Day 1

                       Thursday 11th May 2018

                              Peter Moore at Lords

Half centuries from England’s Eoin Morgan and  Dawid Malan alongside a 99 from a future England player in the making in the shape of Nick Gubbins, saw Middlesex close the day in a more than useful position on 356-6.

With an uncontested toss Middlesex batted first. On a week that has seen Steven Finn named as Captain by the club for the forthcoming Royal London One-Day Cup campaign and West Indian Dwayne Bravo signing for Middlesex for this year’s Vitality Blast. Bravo, will join up with Middlesex in early July and will play in the first six T20 Blast matches, making his debut in the London derby against Surrey at Lords on Thursday 5th July.

On the field Middlesex openers Sam Robson and Nick Gubbins put on 77 for the opening wicket before Australian Daniel Worrall made the initial breakthrough when he had Robson(36) caught behind low down. Gubbins-who was dropped earlier when he was on 17- moved on to a half century which came off 73 balls including ten fours. Gubbins, who was cover driving beautifully throughout the morning was the architect of a good opening session for the hosts, who at lunch were 121 for 1, with Gubbins 70 not out.

Middlesex added 45 further runs before Worrall returned for a new spell from the Pavilion End. With his second ball Stevie Eskinazi(31) played a loose shot and was caught at the second attempt at first slip by Kieran Noema-Barnett.  Gubbins fine innings came to an end when he fell agonisingly one run short of a century after gloving a delivery of extra bounce behind, to give Worrall his third wicket of the day.

Eoin Morgan walked out into the middle for his first Championship innings for Middlesex for almost three years and immediately hit off spinner Graeme Van Buuren for a lofted drive that went to the boundary.  By tea an unbroken partnership of 72 between Morgan(33) and fellow England player Dawid Malan(44), had helped Middlesex move on to 258 for 3.

The hosts posted 300 in their first innings for the first time since June 2017- 13 matches ago- thanks in the main to the two England boys. With 19 overs of the days play remaining the light deteriated, with the umpires asking for the floodlights to be switched on.

Six overs later Matthew Taylor had Malan(76) plumb lbw to a delivery that kept very low, to break a partnership that had yielded 132 runs. 23-year-old Taylor then had Hilton Cartwright caught at second slip for a duck to continue the Australian’s poor run of form with the bat. With 11 balls of the day remaining former Middlesex player Ryan Higgins trapped Morgan(76) lbw with another delivery that kept very low. At stumps Middlesex had moved on to 356-6, as the hosts had much the better of the opening day.

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