Surrey stutter at Lord's
Surrey limped to the close on 161 for five to trail Middlesex by 95 at the mid-point of the LV= County Championship Division One match at Lord’s.
Responding to a fighting Middlesex first-innings total of 256 all out, Surrey’s high-powered top seven struggled for timing on a pitch that offered seam assistance to Tim Murtagh, Corey Collymore and Toby Roland-Jones, who all tasted success.
Under early cloud cover, neither Steven Davies nor Jacques Rudolph looked convincing, yet the visiting openers toughed it out to post 85 for the first wicket either side of lunch.
The Middlesex new-ball attack beat the bat on numerous occasions without finding the edge until a moment of madness against spin from Rudolph gave the hosts a deserved opening scalp.
Having survived 123 balls to reach 45, Rudolph charged past the third ball of the day from Ollie Rayner to be stumped by a yard and open up one end.
Davies continued his battle to hit seven fours in a dogged half-century but, 12 runs on, his luck ran out when he edged Collymore to the keeper after pushing outside off and away from his body.
The degree of difficulty in surviving, let alone prospering, on this surface became further apparent as Mark Ramprakash battled for over two hours to score a meagre 17 with one boundary.
The former England right-hander was ultimately undone by a shooting off-cutter from medium-pacer Neil Dexter that darted in to trap him leg before and make it 148 for three.
The dismissal sparked the loss of three Surrey wickets for five runs in the space of 46 balls.
Zander de Bruyn also went lbw when he played around an in-ducker from Roland-Jones.
Middlesex captain Dexter struck again by having Tom Maynard caught low down at slip by Gareth Berg.
It gave Dexter flattering figures of 2-13, but the luckless Murtagh sent down 20 excellent overs only to finish the day wicketless.
West Indian paceman Collymore also showed his artistry with the ball. Seaming it around at will he too deserved better than his 1-28 suggested.