Middlesex v Glamorgan, Day One : New Glamorgan captain Sam Northeast stars...

Middlesex v Glamorgan, Day One : New Glamorgan captain Sam Northeast stars at Lord’s

New Glamorgan captain Sam Northeast excels on day one as he closes in on a double century

The honours for the first day of this Championship opener go to the Glamorgan batters, led by Sam Northeast, who finished the day undefeated on 186. Backed up by half centuries from Billy Root and Kiran Carlson, Glamorgan reached 370/3, needing another 80 runs from 14 overs to earn maximum batting bonus points. Northeast was imperious from the moment he came to the crease, particularly strong off the front foot and gave only one chance, a sharp low catch to Holden at point. The Middlesex bowlers had to deal with windy conditions and an unhelpful pitch, Ethan Bamber the pick of the seven used, finishing the day with 2/66.

Given the recent weather, even the most optimistic cricket supporter would not have expected a full day’s play at Lords, but that is what the hardy souls who braved the elements were treated to. And it would be the small number of travelling Glamorgan fans that went back to their hotels much the happier. The Middlesex skipper, Toby Roland-Jones won the toss and unsurprisingly chose to bowl first. Middlesex left out Blake Cullen and Nathan Fernandes, giving Henry Brookes and Leus du Plooy their debuts. Glamorgan selected a seamer-heavy attack, with Dan Douthwaite, James Harris and Jamie McIlroy alongside the new signings of Mir Hamza and Craig Miles. Root has been promoted to open in the absence of the injured Eddie Byrom, while Mason Crane will have to wait for his first start.

The pitch for this game is right over on the Tavern side of the ground and the boundary to the Grandstand was probably not visible to the batters, it was so far away. The surface looked surprisingly brown and by the end of the day’s play, the Middlesex bowlers must have been muttering under their breaths about what their groundsman, Karl McDermott had subjected them to. They are using the Kookaburra ball for this game and it was true to its reputation of giving the bowlers little assistance. Ryan Higgins, bowling from the pavilion end, kept things tight, but runs flowed from the nursery end as first Ethan Bamber and then Tom Helm laboured into a stiff breeze. Helm went for 36 from his first four overs. Bamber did capture the only wicket to fall in the morning session, ul-Hassan departing for five at the end of the seventh over, edging a catch to Jack Davies. For the remainder of the morning session Root and Northeast played their shots, initially riding their luck, but then settling down, runs flowing at a brisk pace. The only real chance was from Root, Leus du Plooy shelling a low catch at third slip off Helm, when on 29. Northeast was the first to reach 50, off just 51 balls, carrying on the form he showed in Glamorgan’s preseason game, followed promptly by Root and at lunch Glamorgan were well placed at 118/1.

After lunch the batters continued to dominate until Henry Brookes bowled Root with an in swinger from around the wicket. Root had made 67, sharing a 129 run partnership with Northeast and Glamorgan were 145/2. Northeast progressed without further problem to a century off 146 balls, including 14 boundaries. The Middlesex bowlers were able to slow the scoring as the afternoon progressed, but Northeast and Carlson took the total to 234/2 at tea, by which time there was spin from both ends. Du Plooy did cause some problems, getting slow turn from the pavilion end with his left arm orthodox.

After tea the Glamorgan batters took the attack to the two Middlesex spinners as first Carlson went to his half century off 97 balls and then two balls later Northeast reached 150. De Caires bowled unchanged up to the new ball, by which time Glamorgan had reached 320 without the loss of any further wickets. The new ball was taken at the first opportunity and brought immediate reward as Carlson mistimed a forcing shot straight to du Plooy at extra cover, off the bowling of Bamber, out for 77. At 321/3 Colin Ingram joined Northeast and he just dealt in boundaries as the new ball raced across the Lords outfield. Ingram was put down off Brookes on 29, a very difficult diving catch at first slip, but that was the end of the excitement as Glamorgan ended the day on 367/3, with Ingram on 32. Northeast will be eyeing the second double century of his career in the morning, although he still has a way to go to match the 410 not out he scored against Leicestershire two years ago.

Meanwhile Toby Roland Jones might be thinking about WG Grace’s mantra: “When you win the toss – bat. If you are in doubt, think about it, then bat. If you have very big doubts, consult a colleague then bat.”


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