Evidence of the green tinge to the pitch
Hamilton-Brown won his third consecutive toss and put Middlesex in to bat having slotted a fourth seamer, Chris Jordan, in at the last minute, perhaps having seen that grass on the wicket. The decision looked the right one as Yasir Arafat finally took his first wicket of the season trapping Scott Newman LBW (before I'd even made it to my seat). Not long after Tom Maynard took a very sharp slip catch to see off Housego for nothing and Arafat then bowled Chris Rogers. Malan and Dexter settled things but with the score on 88 Malan was adjudged LBW to Batty just before lunch.
|Arafat broke his duck at long last|
Things were looking mighty fine as I tucked into my roast beef sandwich, I thought our first win of the season might just be on the cards. How wrong I was. After lunch the initial swing Arafat had used so well was long gone and the blazing sunshine wasn't helping matters either. Simpson and Dexter tucked into bowling which was for the most part too short. Dernbach and Simpson had a good battle after lunch with the latter mis-timing a couple pulls, but Dernbach got carried away with the short stuff, in the end it was the batsman who had the last laugh. Dexter went to his hundred with a delicious straight drive, was dropped next ball in the slips by the skipper and then drove the ball after for another four. Simpson was less expansive but his hundred was no less impressive.
It is becoming, if it hasn't already become, a theme of the season that we are failing to drive home advantages - something which Adams specifically said we needed to work on. This was another example of good batting against us, Dexter and Simpson were superb, make no mistake, but we also evidently lacked an enforcer. Meaker's absence didn't help today, likewise Tremlett's ongoing absence, but without someone stepping into that role we will always struggle to create results over four day matches.
Our batting is strong of course, and we are more than capable of making the game safe, but there will be buckets of pressure on the top order in the face of seam bowling likely to be of the highest order. Unless the openers bed in you can see things getting away from Surrey, fingers crossed it doesn't.