Middlesex edge ahead
Middlesex were indebted to two century-plus stands as they forged a first-innings advantage against Nottinghamshire in their LV= County Championship Division One match at Trent Bridge.
The visitors held a 19-run lead when play was ended early due to bad light after reaching 297 for six.
Chris Rogers and Sam Robson combined to add 106 for the first wicket, with Australian Rogers knowing that a glut of early-season runs could lead to an Ashes call-up.
Playing positively he brought up his fifty but then fell immediately afterwards, given out lbw after not playing a shot at Ajmal Shahzad. The bowler's joy at his maiden wicket for his new county was unconfined but Rogers contributed greatly to his own downfall.
Robson's innings of 76 was a more patient affair.
Born in Australia, he will be qualified to represent England at the start of next summer and his name would have been underlined in the notebook of the watching national selector Geoff Miller.
Two straight drives and a couple of casual flicks through midwicket were shots of the highest order, while he was rarely troubled by the swinging ball, a rare quality to have this early in the campaign.
When Robson eventually fell, caught behind off Luke Fletcher, Notts looked to have dragged themselves back into the contest and still cherished realistic hopes of a first-innings lead.
Those thoughts were dispelled by a stand of 116 between John Simpson and Gareth Berg.
In 19 innings last season Simpson failed to get beyond 47, and he began by almost ducking into a bouncer from Andre Adams that did not get above waist height.
From a nervy start he flourished and by the close had reached an undefeated 77, his fifty coming from just 73 balls with six fours and two huge sixes.
Berg was dismissed for 43 towards the close, providing Fletcher with his third wicket of the day after the paceman had earlier sent back Joe Denly.
Adams, on his 150th first-class appearance, looked a little under-cooked after a winter spent coaching in New Zealand but he produced the ball of the day to flatten Neil Dexter's off stump.
Shahzad, who bowled with great pace at times, claimed the other wicket to fall, trapping Dawid Malan in his crease for six.