Hildreth and Kieswetter rescue Somerset
James Hildreth and Craig Kieswetter helped Somerset fight back after Middlesex's seamers prospered early on a heavily rain-affected opening day of the LV= County Championship match at Lord's.
By the time the heavens opened at 3pm, Somerset had recovered from one for two to reach 130 for four after just 48.5 overs of play.
The visitors were reliant on a fourth-wicket stand of 80 between Hildreth, who eventually departed for 58, and Kieswetter, unbeaten on 48.
After winning the toss for the first time this summer, acting Middlesex captain Chris Rogers opted to field first in overcast conditions tailor-made for his new-ball pairing of Tim Murtagh and Corey Collymore.
The experienced duo got the ball to swing and nip around at will in the early exchanges and Somerset soon found themselves in trouble only 14 deliveries into the game.
Having faced only three balls, opening batsman Alex Barrow pushed at a ripping off-cutter from Collymore which took the inside edge through to wicketkeeper John Simpson, who pulled off a stunning diving catch.
Five balls later in-form Nick Compton, fresh from becoming the first man to pass 1,000 first-class runs this season, padded up to a Murtagh delivery that jagged back against the Lord’s slope to brush off stump, dislodge one bail and send the right-hander packing for just a single against his former county.
Hildreth, usually fluent and easy on the eye, dug in thereafter, as did opening batsman Arul Suppiah, who batted 94 minutes for 15 in a third-wicket stand of 44 in almost 20 overs.
Suppiah was next to go, bowled by Toby Roland-Jones who - after regularly dropping too short - re-adjusted his length to squeeze one through bat and pad to clip the top of Suppiah’s off stump.
Hildreth battled on in the same vein with England limited-overs wicketkeeper-batsman Kieswetter. The pair were together for 25.1 overs with Hildreth reaching his fifty from 108 balls, including five fours.
The fourth and final Middlesex breakthrough came in unusual circumstances. Having bowled the first delivery of his 12th over Collymore pulled up and, after feeling the back of his right knee, gingerly sidled from the pitch for some treatment.
Gareth Berg came on to complete the over and the enforced change paid immediate dividends when Hildreth, pushing away from his body, edged to wicketkeeper Simpson. The wicket was Berg’s 100th in first-class cricket.
Some 13 deliveries later, the rain arrived and forced umpires Neil Mallender and Neil Bainton to take the players into the pavilion from where they never re-emerged.