Toby Roland-Jones took five wickets as Middlesex battled back to claim the honours at the end of the opening day of their LV= County Championship Division One match against Northamptonshire.
Middlesex initially appeared as though they might feel the effects of yesterday’s NatWest T20 Blast double-header as the last-placed hosts reached 114 for one.
A middle-order collapse, however, saw the home side lose four for 66 and, with Roland-Jones creating most of the damage, Northants reached the close on 251 for eight.
Roland-Jones returned 5-49, including the key wicket of Northants skipper Stephen Peters who hit 67 at the top of the order.
Peters was the only home batsman to pass 50 as the rest of the top-six otherwise failed to cash in after making starts.
Northamptonshire won the toss and after opting to bat first made a steady start before James Middlebrook was bowled by Roland-Jones in the 19th over.
Peters was more difficult to dislodge and he sealed his third half-century of the season, against a Middlesex attack without leading wicket-taker Steven Finn.
In Finn’s absence, however, Roland-Jones took up the mantle and claimed the key scalp of Peters caught at deep midwicket by Ravi Patel.
Northants lost another wicket before tea, with David Sales falling seven runs short of a fifty, when he was caught by Chris Rogers off Tim Murtagh.
Matt Spriegel and Rob Newton saw Northants through to the tea break at 183 for three to set a platform going into the final session.
But Spriegel lasted only into the second over after the break when his attempted cut was caught by wicketkeeper John Simpson off Patel.
Eight balls later, Newton was on his way too as Roland-Jones struck again.
Northants began to lose their way as Ben Duckett lasted just eight deliveries before he was caught hooking at Roland-Jones.
Patel then removed David Murphy, caught by Sam Robson, to leave Northamptonshire reeling at 207 for seven.
The hosts finally found some resistance in a valuable eighth-wicket partnership between Andrew Hall and Ian Butler.
The pair put on 42 before Roland-Jones completed his five-wicket haul with 14 balls left in the day; Hall trapped lbw for 28.