Roland-Jones makes his mark

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Toby Roland-Jones produced career-best bowling figures for Middlesex to help dismiss Nottinghamshire for 278 on the opening day of the new LV= County Championship Division One season.

Ed Cowan with 61 and James Taylor, who scored 55, were the outstanding performers for the home side on a surface that continued to provide assistance throughout the day.

However, Roland-Jones took 6-63 to put Notts on the back foot at Trent Bridge. Middlesex had replied with 12 for no wicket at the close.

Cowan, regarded as a fairly dour starter, could not have got his Notts career off to a more spectacular beginning.

Toby Roland-Jones

Middlesex seamer Toby Roland-Jones bowls on a day that eventually yielded career-best figures of 6-63 against Nottinghamshire

In the first over of the day, Australia's Test opener hit Tim Murtagh for boundaries from each of the first three deliveries he faced, with the over eventually producing 15 runs.

Keen to discuss the merits of both the surface and the opposition attack at every opportunity, Cowan and his opening partner Alex Hales negotiated the first hour of the day in adding 51 together, before Roland-Jones altered the complexion of the innings.

In just his second over, he had Hales taken at slip for 20 - an effort he followed up by trapping Michael Lumb lbw first ball, although the batsman may have been a little unlucky with a suspicion of an inside edge.

Cowan reached his half-century just before lunch but fell tamely shortly after the resumption, gently flicking Roland-Jones to square-leg.

As both sides battled for supremacy, Taylor and Samit Patel doggedly added 60 together for the fourth wicket before Roland-Jones struck again.

The 25-year old seamer claimed 64 wickets at an average of 19.45 last season and his fine start to the new campaign continued as Samit Patel flicked at a delivery and was easily taken by wicketkeeper John Simpson.

Taylor moved to his own half-century but was then undone by a Neil Dexter delivery that flew off an outside edge to gully, where Sam Robson took an excellent diving catch.

Having been 204 for four, the Nottinghamshire innings then lost momentum with Riki Wessels crazily throwing his wicket away, being run-out going for a non-existent third.

Ajmal Shahzad fell to the second new ball and was swiftly followed by Andre Adams and Luke Fletcher as Murtagh at last gained some reward for his efforts.

Chris Read was last to depart, holing out to give Roland-Jones his sixth wicket and end a typically battling knock of 34.

Middlesex began their reply under floodlights and the day ended as it began, with Robson following Cowan's lead by helping himself to three boundaries in the final over.

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