Malan defiant as Middlesex struggle
Dawid Malan’s unbeaten 62 helped counter a strong performance by Surrey’s seamers, but Middlesex were second best on a rain-affected opening day at Lord’s.
Having initially struggled to make the most of cloud cover and a pitch that offered some assistance, the visitors hit back to claim 5-56 in the afternoon session, with Jon Lewis and Jade Dernbach to the fore.
Middlesex subsequently closed on 225 for nine at the end of an enthralling first day.
After being invited to bat first by Surrey captain Rory Hamilton-Brown, Middlesex were allowed to build a reasonable foundation in the LV= County Championship Division One clash as the visiting attack made an unconvincing start.
Openers Joe Denly and Sam Robson appeared relatively untroubled in posting 33 in 10 overs before the former paid the price for a tentative defensive push at a Lewis leg-cutter that brushed the edge on its way through to wicketkeeper Steven Davies.
Australian left-hander Chris Rogers also appeared in good order as he reached 20 from 30 balls, only to fall leg before and become the first of Dernbach’s three victims.
Robson, who struck 40, and Malan suffered no further alarms through to lunch as Middlesex reached 86 for two, but rain arrived during the interval, ensuring a 75-minute delay.
Surrey regrouped and came out firing on all cylinders, three quick wickets proving just rewards for their efforts.
From the sixth delivery after the restart, Robson had his off stump pegged back by Tim Linley, before Dernbach bagged two more scalps in as many deliveries.
The England paceman saw Neil Dexter drag the ball on to his leg stump via an inside edge after a late bid to shoulder arms, and John Simpson nicked the next to slip to make it 92 for five.
Although Gareth Berg survived the hat-trick ball, he soon followed, bowled by Linley attempting a clip through midwicket.
Just before tea, Ollie Rayner pushed down the wrong line at a Lewis leg-cutter that clipped the top of off stump, bringing together Malan and Tim Murtagh for a level-headed eighth-wicket stand that added 53 in 17.2 overs.
Murtagh’s patience finally snapped with 31 to his name. Missing a slog sweep, he went lbw to Gareth Batty before Toby Roland-Jones edged to slip to become Surrey’s final victim of the day.