England paceman Steven Finn claimed four-wickets as 15 fell on the opening day of the LV= County Championship Division One clash between Middlesex and Durham at Lord's.
Durham were shot out for 143 within 50 overs after losing the toss, with Finn claiming 4-46.
Not that Middlesex fared much better as they limped to stumps on 126 for five following a day blighted by poor shot selection.
Responding during a mammoth 46-over final session and in much improved conditions, Middlesex lost both openers within 5.1 overs with only a single on the board but recovered from 15 for three to go into day two trailing by 17 runs.
Beginning their reply after an early tea break, the hosts saw Joe Denly fend at a short one from Graham Onions and nick to second slip to depart for nought and give the England seamer his 400th first-class wicket.
Sam Robson lost his off stump after aiming to drive against Chris Rushworth, Adam Voges cut an Onions long-hop to cover point to go for nine and Eoin Morgan, off balance and working to leg on 20, departed lbw to an in-swinging yorker from Ben Stokes.
In the final hour, John Simpson clipped off his legs straight to Mark Stoneman at short midwicket for the same score but Neil Dexter and Gareth Berg reached the close in assured fashion on 40 and 28 respectively.
Durham's batting demise started from the second ball of the match when Stoneman feathered a Tim Murtagh leg-cutter to wicketkeeper Simpson.
Scott Borthwick and Keaton Jennings departed in the same fashion to Corey Colleymore and Murtagh respectively before Stokes launched a counter-attack against the swinging ball.
The all-rounder hit four fours, including a couple of rasping cover drives, in a brief cameo stay of 21 that ended with the introduction of Finn and a well-held low catch by Robson.
Chasing their first win at Lord's since 1998 - their sole championship success at HQ - Durham re-grouped briefly until Will Smith chased a wide one from Berg to edge to second slip on 24 in the over before lunch.
Durham's slide continued five overs after the resumption when left-hander Phil Mustard launched at further Berg width, only to gift opposite number Simpson his fourth catch of the innings and drop the score to 93 for six.
Mark Richardson helped add 19 for the seventh wicket before Paul Collingwood, working to leg against a short one from Finn, found a leading edge to loop a simple return catch.
In the next over, Richardson aimed to pull a leg-side long-hop from Collymore only to edge through to Simpson, leaving Finn to polish off the tail by snaring Onions leg before and having Rushworth held at mid-on.