Abbas takes four but Middlesex hold firm to gain upper hand against Leicestershire


Middlesex 325-8

Leicestershire paceman Mohammad Abbas posted figures of 26-9-57-4 on an even first day at Lords but Middlesex will probably be marginally the happier side, after finishing on 325-8.

It was a decent day for batting but the pitch was initially at least offering pace and bounce to the opening bowlers. Middlesex’s only disappointment may be that they did not sufficiently plunder a short Tavern Stand boundary.

If the home side can add 30 more runs tomorrow morning, they will regard their first innings total as just north of acceptable.

Middlesex had absentees with captain Dawid Malan injured and Eoin Morgan and Paul Stirling away on international duty. Tom Lace was recalled from a loan spell at Derbyshire to make his county debut.

Sam Robson fell first ball to Mohammad Abbas, leg before wicket, whose first spell yielded just 13 runs off six overs. Nick Gubbins and Max Holden rallied well. Gubbins reached his fifty from 83 balls. Holden played well but fell to Abbas just after lunch.

The game stayed even with Leicestershire pulling out a wicket whenever it seemed the game was slipping away from them. Colin Ackermann dismissed Gubbins (75) and Steve Eskinazi (33), both of whom played themselves in but failed to make as many runs as their potential suggested.

It wouldn’t be unfair to place Lace’s 51 in that category, his eight boundaries second only to Gubbins’ 15. George Scott and James Harris added a valuable 55 but the quick dismissals of Harris and Ollie Rayner left Middlesex struggling, and Abbas with 4-48 and bowling at the tail.

Scott steered his side through to stumps with a well structured half century off 69 balls. His unbeaten partnership with Tom Helm had produced 41 by the close of play.



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