Jul 11 2012 By Jon Batham
Andrew Strauss Image 1
LV COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP DAY ONE Middlesex 98 all out Notts 114-4
ANDREW Strauss made a half century in his first competitive innings for more than a month on an otherwise torrid day for Middlesex’s batsmen against Nottinghamshire at Uxbridge.
The England skipper had not picked up a bat in anger since the Sunday of the final Test Match with the West Indies on June 10, but showed few signs of rustiness ahead of next week’s clash with South Africa at the Oval.
However, he stood virtually alone as on an unusually green and inhospitable wicket Gareth Berg was the only other batsman to reach double figures as the hosts were skittled for just 98 by the current Championship leaders.
Andre Adams, was again chief destroyer for Notts with 6-32.
The tenants of Lord’s fought back well with the ball, but face an uphill battle to get back in the match.
Middlesex lost a crucial toss – the 22nd time in 26 matches this season – and for much of their innings you could be forgiven for thinking two different matches were being played.
Strauss mixed compact defence with full bloodied cover drives, making light of the seaming conditions, but around him there was carnage after play began 45 minutes late because of damp patches on the outfield.
Sam Robson, one of three possible opening partners for Strauss, soon fell trying to play a ball through mid-wicket which seamed across him and took the outside edge.
Skipper Rogers, in fine form in the Championship before the break for T20, was next to go, taken at slip off a lifting ball from Harry Gurney.
The same bowler accounted for Joe Denly caught at slip flashing horribly at a wide one, before Adams took centre stage.
County cricket’s leading wicket taker could not have asked for better conditions and produced just enough movement for Dawid Malan to nick to Alex Hales at first slip and the very next ball moved one sharply in to John Simpson who inside edged the ball into his stumps.
Gareth Berg survived a big shout for LBW off the hat-trick ball and either side of lunch proved a valuable ally for Strauss.
The pair raised the 50 partnership and Strauss went to his half century shortly afterwards, only to almost immediately become Adams third victim as the bowlers found some swing from around the wicket to beat his defence and remove the off bail.
The dismissal ended a stand of 63 and sparked a collapse which saw the hosts lose five wickets for one run in 16 balls, Berg being ninth man out to that man Adams for 32.
The threatened rain did not materialise and in intermittent sunshine the Uxbridge wicket flattened out meaning for a while Notts batted with relative comfort.
Collymore pinned Hales LBW on the back foot for 14, but Rikki Wessels (34) and Michael Lumb batted fluently before the former edged Berg to Simpson.
Things could have looked healthier for Rogers’ men had Berg clung on to a caught & bowled when Lumb was on 26, while Ollie Rayner spurned a tough chance low down at second slip from Samit Patel in the next over from Murtagh.
The latter drop was not costly as Murtagh claimed Patel LBW for 18 and there was more cheer for the former Surrey man when James Taylor edged to Simpson for just three.
The rain finally arrived at six o’clock with Lumb on 35 and Notts 16 ahead with six wickets intact.