Surrey on top despite rain

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Jade Dernbach & Mark Ramprakash

Surrey seamer Jade Dernbach, left, celebrates after picking up the first of four Middlesex wickets to fall with a trademark slower ball

Middlesex stumbled to 88 for four against rivals Surrey at Guildford as persistent rain meant only 35 overs were possible on day one of the sides’ LV= County Championship Division Two encounter.

A well-grassed pitch coupled with the overcast conditions ensured ball dominated bat as Surrey’s attack - shorn of England Test paceman Chris Tremlett but bolstered by the return of his one-day international replacement Jade Dernbach - held sway.

Despite beating the bat on several occasions it took them nine overs before making their initial breakthrough, with a well-disguised slower ball from Dernbach creeping under Sam Robson’s bat and onto the stumps.

In the next over, left-hander Scott Newman, playing against his former side, fenced outside off against one from Tim Linley that held its line and edged into the gloves of wicketkeeper Steven Davies.

Fellow left-hander Dawid Malan, who had made 20, pushed inside the line of a delivery from off-spinner Gareth Batty that just gripped the surface and turned to beat the outside edge and peg back off stump.

Three balls later and against the pace of Stuart Meaker, Middlesex captain Neil Dexter made a late decision to shoulder arms to one that darted off the seam and into the right-hander to clip the top of off stump.

Chris Rogers made it through to lunch but only after surviving a concerted lbw appeal from Dernbach and the Surrey slip cordon.

Showers arrived at lunch and finally abated shortly before 5pm, by which time only a handful of spectators remained to witness a brief, six-over resumption that Rogers and Jamie Dalrymple survived before rain returned to wash out play for the day.

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