Middlesex batsmen on top against Somerset
- Credit: PA
Nick Gubbins and Robbie White led a solid Middlesex batting display on the opening day of the LV= Insurance County Championship match with Somerset at Taunton.
After losing the toss, the visitors progressed to 308 for six by the close at the Cooper Associates County Ground, Gubbins contributing 75, White 70 not out and Max Holden 49.
Craig Overton was the pick of the Somerset attack, bowling with little luck for figures of two for 54 from 23 overs.
On a sunny morning, Lewis Gregory struck the first blow for the hosts when Sam Robson, on six, played across a full delivery and edged a sharp catch to wicketkeeper Steve Davies.
From then on, the morning session belonged to Middlesex, but not without moments of good fortune, particularly for Holden.
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On 24, he was caught off a Gregory no-ball and on 28 edged the same bowler low to second slip, the ball flying through Overton's legs for four.
Holden survived narrowly again on 33 when he got a thin top edge to an attempted pull shot off Overton and the leaping Davies could only get the finger ends of his gloves to the ball.
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When Overton tried to bounce him out, Holden responded with two fine pulls for boundaries. But the bowler took revenge with the final delivery before the interval, which yielded an outside edge and another Davies catch.
It was 82 for two at lunch and when the afternoon began with Gubbins and Peter Handscomb progressing confidently, it looked like taking a mistake from one of them to bring a wicket.
That happened with the total on 129. Handscomb, on 17, steered a ball from Jack Leach to mid-on and set off for a single, only to be beaten by substitute fielder Roelof van der Merwe's direct hit at the bowler's end.
Gubbins had been dropped on 41 by Overton at second slip off Josh Davey and it looked like proving a costly error as the left-hander moved to an otherwise assured half-century.
He had faced 138 balls and struck 12 fours when Overton pouched him to give Gregory a second wicket.
At 170 for four, Middlesex had to rebuild. White and John Simpson did so sensibly to add 38 before the tea interval.
Simpson announced more positive intentions in the first over of the evening session, lofting Leach over long-on for six.
He had contributed 33 to a stand of 69 with White when he edged a back-foot shot off the left-arm seam of Tom Lammonby to James Hildreth at first slip.
White went to fifty with a flashing cut for four off Lammonby, his eighth boundary, having faced 114 balls.
Martin Andersson weighed in with a brisk 38 from 35 balls before falling lbw to Overton late on and, with White still unbeaten, Middlesex could feel satisfied with their day's work.