Toby Roland-Jones was honest enough to admit Middlesex missed something of an opportunity against Nottinghamshire on day one at Lord’s.
Led by Roland-Jones’s 3-57 the hosts kept Nottinghamshire within sight at 345-7 in stifling hot conditions at the home of cricket.
Middlesex looked in trouble when Nottinghamshire reached 168-2 by mid-afternoon with England opener Alex Hales and Michael Lumb in the midst of a century stand and threatening to cut loose on another pitch offering little to the bowlers.
Roland-Jones’ double strike removing Hales and Riki Wessells in the same over threatened to wrestle the initiative the other way and at 209-5 at tea Middlesex were arguably in the ascendancy.
However, both Chris Read and Samit Patel (86*) were dropped in the final session as the game turned once again the way of the visitors.
Roland-Jones acknowledged there was a sense in the home dressing-room this was one which had to some degree at least got away.
“We’ve got a bit of mixed emotions,” he said. “It was a pretty hard-fought day’s cricket I thought.
“There were a few openings where we thought we had the chance to press the game a little bit, but they are pretty still conditions out there as far as batting goes, so it is a tough one to assess, but certainly we put ourselves in positions to come out slightly better than we did.
“A couple of nicks didn’t quite go to hand, but on the most part we did a steady job at creating chances, particularly in the first 60-odd overs on what is a fairly good wicket.
“I suppose they got away from us after that, so we are sitting here feeling things have gone slightly the other way.”
On a personal note this was a good day for the former England Lion, who had the satisfaction of flattening Hales’ stumps, just as he was approaching full throttle, as well as inducing Greg Smith to nick to slip and pinning Wessells leg before.
It was reward for some honest straight toil and Roland-Jones senses he is coming into the bowling groove.
“I felt good running in,” he added. “I found a bit of rhythm in the Hampshire game and told myself just to try and stick to that and it paid off.
“It is the sort of wicket where you just really want to bowl fairly straight and ask as many questions as possible.
“I bowled a bit fuller looking to hit the stumps as much as possible because it was definitely that sort of wicket with a little bit of reverse swing around and that always lends itself to a slightly fuller length.
“So I was pretty happy over the course of the day with how it came out and it was nice to get a few wickets as well.”