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Mullaney impresses on drab day

Middlesex's mathematical chances of winning the LV= County Championship Division One title were further damaged by bad weather and Nottinghamshire's Steven Mullaney at Lord's.

When bad light and fine drizzle ruled out most of the opening day's final session, Mullaney was on 88 not out in a Nottinghamshire first-innings score of 161 for two.

During an attritional 69.1 overs’ cricket, third-placed Middlesex had no bowling bonus points and only the wickets of Riki Wessels, for 14, and Michael Lumb, for 54, to show for earlier asking Nottinghamshire to bat under cloudy skies.

Mullaney and Lumb battled through 51 overs to grind out a second-wicket partnership of 115.

Even England Twenty20 specialist Lumb took 135 balls to reach 50 and then another 36 to add four more runs before he skied a sweep at off-spinner Ollie Rayner to deep square-leg.

James Taylor faced nine deliveries either side of a delay for bad light thereafter before further gloom ultimately ended proceedings.

Rayner, who had match figures of 15-118 when Middlesex trounced Surrey in last week’s London derby at the Kia Oval, took 1-18 while only James Harris failed to keep a tight rein on the scoring rate.

There were 10 fours amid a primarily defensive approach from Mullaney, who took full advantage of surviving a close run-out appeal when he took a sharp single from the third delivery of the game.

He and Wessels put on 43 for the first wicket, before the latter edged Neil Dexter’s medium pace to second slip.

Gareth Berg, surprisingly causing problems, had Lumb in all sorts of trouble, yet the batsman battled impressively alongside Mullaney as Notts – aiming to allay their relegation fears – enjoyed the better of the opening day.

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