Middlesex opener Nick Gubbins was full of praise after an “amazing” Sam Robson innings left his side in the ascendancy after Day One at Lord’s.
Robson hit an unbeaten 175 against Warwickshire, batting through the first session with Gubbins before walking his side off on 317-4 at the close of play, with more runs expected tomorrow.
And Gubbins believes that innings like those seen at the Home of Cricket will have their fair influence on England selectors when Test places are decided.
“I thought in that first hour Robbo and I capitalised on their bowling, and from thereon in the day only belonged to one man,” said Gubbins, after the two put on 120-0 before lunch.
“I’m really chuffed for him, he’s worked hard this winter back in Australia so to see him go out and do that on Day One of the season is absolutely fantastic, and everyone is absolutely buzzing for him.
“It was awesome to watch from the other end. Some of these balls that he cut was just unbelievable, he has a very clear gameplan and the way he goes about it, and he executed it perfectly today.
“It was nice to be out there and be able to bat for most of the day with Robbo and be able to put the team in a great position with a long batting line-up to come.
“[Trevor] Bayliss has spoken about big hundreds, and you don’t get much bigger than 175 on Day One at Lord’s. It’s fantastic for the team, and for himself, and if he keeps doing that then he’s going to keep knocking on the door.”
The hosts began on the front foot, taking advantage of some unthreatening Warwickshire bowling early on to go to lunch unscathed.
But Gubbins was not able to turn his 50 into a maiden first-class century, perishing to Chris Wright for 68 before Nick Compton followed him next ball.
The opener believes Middlesex have the pace attack, of which they have five options including England international Steven Finn, can exploit the slight assistance the Lord’s pitch was offering.
He continued: “They bowled pretty well after lunch, long spells, so they were fighting hard and I made one mistake which cost me, but that’s batting and you just have to move on.
“At the start of the day I would have taken 68, so you don’t want to brew on it too much.
“To go in no wickets down with the score at 120 is massive. We would have taken being at just 60, so to have double that shows the positive cricket we’ve played in the morning.
“That’s how you want to start a game and a season, and we’ve made it clear as a team that we want to start games well as we don’t think we did that all the time last season.
“I feel we have the bowling attack to make use of this wicket, because it isn’t a straightforward surface, so if you get the ball in the right areas there is something there for you to attack.”
Warwickshire captain Ian Bell elected to bowl first following an uncontested toss following the new regulations, a decision Middlesex’s own Tim Murtagh said would not be a foregone conclusion in St John’s Wood.
The move seemed to backfire with the hosts’ strong start, but Gubbins admitted it was a tricky position to Bell, harbouring England recall ambitions of his own, to be in.
“To be stuck in on a pretty nice morning at Lord’s, there was a bit of movement early on, so to get to nearly 320-4 at the end of the day, we’ll take that for sure.
“None of us fancied being in Ian Bell’s position – you can never tell when you get to Lord’s in April, but the sun was shining, the pitch had been under cover so it was a real tough decision today.”