Middlesex stage fightback on opening day. 29th August 2018
29th AUGUST 2018
MIDDLESEX vs SUSSEX
MIDDLESEX 169 SUSSEX 120-6
Day 1 Specsavers County Championship Wednesday 29th August 2018
Peter Moore at Lords
Middlesex staged a spirited fightback after being bowled out for 169 by promotion chasing Sussex on the opening day of their Specsavers County Championship match at Lords.
At close Sussex had reached 120 for 6, after at one stage being 62 for 1. Earlier, only a fine unbeaten half century from the promising Max Holden in difficult batting conditions, had given the hosts some sort of respectable score.
Both these sides went into todays crucial games with still a chance of promotion.
Sussex sat in second spot, just four points behind leaders Warwickshire, whilst the hosts Middlesex were in fourth spot 43 points behind the leaders, with an outside chance of a top two finish.
After heavy rain in London the start was delayed until 11.30. An uncontested toss meant that Sussex unsurprisingly would bowl first. Under cloudy skies and with the floodlights on openers Sam Robson and Nick Gubbins had to negotiate a tricky three quarters of an hour before Ollie Robinson trapped Sam Robson(8) lbw. Three runs later Stevie Eskinazi(0) lasted just three deliveries before Jofra Archer had the opener lbw to leave Middlesex 30 for 2. The visitors had the early momentum and picked up a third Middlesex wicket before lunch when David Wiese replaced Robinson at the Nursery End and with his second delivery Gubbins(29) edged to second slip.
Wiese then made sure it was Sussex’s session by getting the ball to nip back to have Dawid Malan(6) lbw to leave the visitors having the honours in the opening session, after reducing Middlesex to 68 for 4 at Lunch.
Batting was still no easier in the middles session of the day with Max Holden and Eoin Morgan digging in to try and steady the ship. A rather circumspect innings for Morgan(6) was ended when he steered the ball into the hands of first slip. Morgan’s stay at the wicket lasted 94 minutes, having faced 78 balls. Robinson, who was virtually unplayable all day then had James Harris caught at slip for a duck. Jordan then removed James Fuller(17) and Ollie Rayner for a duck, before Archer had Bamber(6) caught behind. Despite wickets falling around him, youngster Max Holden produced another gritty display of batting. Holden-who made 94 in his last championship innings against Northants- completed an undefeated 50 as Middlesex were dismissed for 169-helped by 39 extras- under leaden skies. An excellent four-man pace attack from Sussex, with every bowler taking at least a wicket, saw Jordan finishing with 3-26 and Archer 3-34.
Despite Steven Finn coming back into the Middlesex side, it was the experienced James Harris and the inexperienced 19-year-old Bamber who opened the bowling. It was the youngster Bamber who made the initial breakthrough when Wells (24) chipped straight to mid off. Finn- bowling from the pavilion end- had Salt(32) caught at cover to leave Sussex 63 for 2.
The Middlesex fightback continued when James Fuller was introduced into the attack. The seamer had Tom Haines(15) caught at second slip off his third delivery, then removed Harry Finch(17) to leave Sussex struggling on 92 for 5. In between a fine spell from Fuller, Harris had Luke Wright trapped lbw for a duck as the home side fought their way back into the match.
David Wiese(6) became the next lbw victim of the day to leave Sussex in trouble, with the scoreboard reading 108 for 6. There was still time for Chris Jordan to be dropped on six by Sam Robson at slip. With six overs of the day remaining the umpires took the players of the field due to bad light, with Sussex closing the day on 120 for 6, currently 49 runs behind.