Dexter takes five but Middlesex stumble

Close, day two: Middlesex 102-3 trail Hampshire 413 by 311 runs

Neil Dexter claimed only the third five-wicket haul in his career but Hampshire remained on top after a rain-hit second day at Southampton.

No play was possible until 2.15pm and a stand of 91 between Will Smith (93) and ex-Middlesex all-rounder Gareth Berg (50) frustrated the visitors’ attack.

Dexter removed both in the same over and also snared a couple of the tailenders as Hampshire added 118 to their overnight score.

Middlesex openers Sam Robson and Nick Gubbins fell cheaply but although Nick Compton (32 not out) and Joe Burns (38) anchored a recovery, their stand ended in the final over of the day.

Persistent rain wiped out the morning session but when play resumed, it did not take long for Middlesex to strike as Toby Roland-Jones bowled Sean Ervine.

But Berg, released by Middlesex after missing virtually the whole of last season with injury, showed his quality by hitting 50 from 75 balls, in tandem with the well-set Smith.

Dexter got both Berg and Smith as Hampshire went from 388-6 to 393-9, but a last-wicket stand of 20 pushed the total beyond 400.

In reply, Robson fell for just 10 as he was bowled by Bradley Wheal, on his first-class debut, and West Indian Fidel Edwards trapped Gubbins for 16.

Compton and Burns rebuilt the innings, with both facing 58 balls and hitting seven fours in a partnership of 69.

But just as they looked set to survive until the end of the day, Burns edged behind off Ervine to leave Hampshire in the ascendancy.

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