MATCH REPORT - DAY 2
The Middlesex bowlers put in a good effort on the final day of the pre-season friendly match against Hampshire at The Ageas Bowl, forcing the hosts to follow-on 173 runs in arrears; in the remaining time, they lost a further two wickets in reaching 42-2 before the match ended as a draw. Middlesex were also boosted by the arrival at the ground of Eoin Morgan who had just returned from England duty in Bangladesh; he had a net and is looking forward to returning to the Middlesex team for the opening LV= County Championship match at Hove on Sunday.
Play began on time following early morning rain but the overcast conditions persisted during the first session and the Hampshire batsmen struggled against the Middlesex seam attack. James Harris conceded just nine runs in his opening seven over spell whilst Tim Murtagh got an early breakthrough when he trapped Michael Carberry LBW for nine to leave Hampshire on 16-1 in the 11th over.
Liam Dawson joined skipper Jimmy Adams at the wicket and shortly afterwards, Toby Roland-Jones and Tom Helm replaced Harris and Murtagh in the attack. Tom Helm bowled an impressive six over spell, conceding just nine runs but it was Roland-Jones who got the second wicket when he bowled Adams for fourteen. James Vince came to the wicket and he took twelve runs off Ollie Rayner’s solitary over before lunch which came with Hampshire on 63-2 after 29 overs.
Steve Finn had his first bowl in the match immediately after lunch with Tim Murtagh returning to the attack at the Pavilion End. It was Murtagh who struck in his first over when he had Dawson caught at the wicket by John Simpson for seventeen. Will Smith (formerly with Durham) joined Vince at the wicket and the pair brought up the hundred in the 38th over. Steve Finn bowled seven overs for 29 runs before he was replaced by James Harris whilst Tim Murtagh had figures of 2-20 from 11 overs when he was replaced by Toby Roland-Jones.
James Vince reached an 80 ball fifty which contained a six and seven fours before Roland-Jones had him caught by Ollie Rayner at second slip for 52. Sean Ervine came to the wicket and with Smith took Hampshire to 166-4 before John Simpson took a superb full-length diving catch at the wicket to dismiss Ervine for 15 and give Tom Helm a wicket. Joe Gatting, a new recruit from Sussex, joined Smith and the pair saw Hampshire through to tea on 186-5 after 64 overs with Will Smith on 48 not out.
Ollie Rayner, who had only bowled a solitary over before lunch, returned immediately after tea and he struck twice in his opening over with Joe Gatting (9) hitting the second ball after tea straight to Tom Helm at mid-on and having Adam Wheater caught by Andrew Balbirnie at short-leg for a second ball duck. Steve Finn returned to the attack at the Northern End and after Will Smith reached a 104 ball fifty (6 fours), Finn had Matt Coles caught at the wicket by John Simpson for duck.
Danny Briggs joined Smith and the pair took Hampshire to 197-8 before Finn struck again when he had Briggs caught at the wicket by John Simpson for four. David Balcombe joined Smith who farmed the bowling before Smith tried to pull a Steve Finn delivery but only succeeded in getting a top-edge and the bowler took the catch to dismiss him for sixty as Hampshire were 204 all-out. Steve Finn had figures of 3-37 in 11.2 overs with Ollie Rayner taking 2-21 in 6 overs, Tim Murtagh 2-20 in 11 overs, Toby Roland-Jones 2-44 in 12 overs, Tom Helm 1-26 in 12 overs whilst James Harris was unlucky to finish wicket-less, conceding just 24 runs in 13 overs.
When Hampshire batted again, Michael Carberry and Liam Dawson opened the innings and they put on 16 runs for the first wicket before Tim Murtagh had Carberry caught at the wicket by John Simpson for six. Sean Ervine joined Dawson but after Toby Roland-Jones replaced Murtagh after four overs at the Pavilion End, Roland-Jones bowled Dawson for 21 in his first over. James Vince came in and joined Ervine at the wicket and they took the total to 42-2 with eight overs remaining at which point the match was ended as a draw.
MATCH REPORT - DAY 1
After Hampshire won the toss and asked Middlesex to bat first on an excellent Ageas Bowl wicket, Middlesex batted the whole of the first day with major contributions from three batsmen as they reached 377-4 at the close of play. Hampshire will bat on the whole of the final day of the two day pre-season friendly match; Middlesex may well use all thirteen squad members at the Ageas Bowl with the hosts being able to call on most of their squad.
Sam Robson, fresh from a successful tour with England Lions in Sri Lanka, immediately looked in good form, scoring seven runs off the opening over from Tomlinson and a further six runs off the following over from Matt Coles. Joe Denly scored three fours off Tomlinson as Middlesex reached 42-0 after 13 overs. Barbadian Ruel Brathwaite replaced Coles at the Northern End and with his first delivery, had Denly caught by Sean Ervine at first slip for 16.
Skipper Dawid Malan joined Robson at the wicket and Malan struck two fours in a Sean Ervine over. Robson then struck Brathwaite for two fours in his fourth over and then hit the same bowler for four fours in his following over, the third of which brought up his fifty off 72 balls (8 fours). Robson continued to bat superbly with typical drives through the covers and late cuts past the slip cordon.
Left-arm spinner, Danny Briggs replaced Brathwaite and in his third over, Malan pulled him for a six over mid-wicket. Malan and Robson saw the visitors to 131-1 at lunch after 30 overs with Robson on 81 not out and Malan 28 not out.
Balcombe and Tomlinson opened the bowling for the hosts immediately after lunch but it made little difference as the Middlesex pair looked generally untroubled. Sam Robson reached his hundred in the 42nd over (off 145 balls, 16 fours) and Dawid Malan reached a 79 ball fifty (1 six & 8 fours), two overs later. The total reached 186-1 after 45 overs at which point Sam Robson retired out for 107 and he was replaced by Neil Dexter.
Dexter scored three fours in the first nine balls he faced and he monopolised the strike and raced to a 60 ball fifty which included two sixes off Dawson plus a further 7 fours. Malan scored a four and a six off successive deliveries from Danny Briggs and Middlesex went into tea on 263-2 after 64 overs with Malan on 78 not out and Dexter on 52 not out.
After tea, Malan and Dexter pressed on against Dawson and Balcombe with the three hundred coming up in the 72nd over. Dawid Malan had advanced to one short of a hundred when he was trapped LBW by Liam Dawson, Malan’s innings included 2 sixes & 16 fours and came off 156 balls. At that point, Neil Dexter had reached 75 not out when he was joined at the wicket by Adam Rossington.
The new ball was taken with the total on 329-3 and Rossington went on to reach 21 before he carved a Matt Coles’ delivery to cover where Will Smith took a superb leaping catch. John Simpson joined Dexter who was 84 not out at that point and Simpson scored three fours as Middlesex reached 368-3 with three overs of the day remaining. After Dexter scored a two off Brathwaite he hit the next ball straight to James Vince at extra-cover to be dismissed for 91 (off 144 balls, 2 sixes & 12 fours). Andrew Balbirnie joined Simpson and the pair took Middlesex to 377-4 at the close of play with Simpson on twenty-seven and Balbirnie on three. The Middlesex innings was closed and Hampshire will bat in the morning.
Middlesex County Cricket Club is pleased to announce the following 13-man squad to play in their final pre-season friendly match. The match is a two-day friendly against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl, starting tomorrow, Tuesday 1 April:
Dawid Malan (captain)
Play is due to start at 11am and entry is free to all.
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