England duo struggle as Middlesex take control

Middlesex: 84 for2 wickets (18.0 overs)
Yorkshire: 159 all out
Middlesex trail Yorkshire by 75 runs with 8 wickets remaining

England duo Joe Root and Harry Brook both failed with the bat for Yorkshire as Middlesex took control by bowling the visitors out for 159 on the opening day of their Vitality County Championship clash at Lord’s.

Root made only five before he fell to Tom Helm, while Brook – who averaged 97 in his three previous innings for the White Rose this season – was caught in the slips off Ethan Bamber for three.

Middlesex’s Ryan Higgins finished with four for 31, with Toby Roland-Jones taking three for 49 to dismiss their opponents in just 37.4 overs on a rain-shortened first day.

Jordan Thompson and Mickey Edwards struck back with a wicket apiece in the Seaxes’ reply, but Mark Stoneman and Leus du Plooy shared an unbroken partnership of 47 to guide them to 84 for two at stumps.

With plenty of cloud cover in the morning – and the Dukes ball back in operation for the first time this season – it was little surprise that Middlesex skipper Roland-Jones put the visitors in after winning the toss.

But, although Roland-Jones trapped Adam Lyth in front of his stumps for 15, he and Bamber initially struggled to establish control and Yorkshire rattled along at almost a run a ball until heavy rain and a brief hailstorm intervened at 41 for one.

It was a different story once play resumed at 2pm, with Roland-Jones bowling Finlay Bean off an inside edge before Helm – finding some movement from the Nursery End – tempted Root to steer one straight to gully.

Brook’s brief stay at the crease was a torrid one, with his first delivery from Helm soaring off the surface to zip past the bat and the next did take the edge, only to drop short of second slip.

But Bamber’s reintroduction paid immediate dividends as Brook drove his first ball into the hands of the diving Du Plooy at second slip and Shan Masood, having batted well for his 33, was lbw to one that kept low in the seamer’s next over.

When Higgins struck twice in three deliveries, removing both Jonny Tattersall and then Thompson leg before, Yorkshire had lost five wickets for 34 and it was largely thanks to Ben Coad’s counter-attack that they clambered above 150.

Coad clubbed Bamber for successive boundaries in his knock of 24 from 18 balls before he and George Hill both fell to Higgins and Roland-Jones ended Dan Moriarty’s brief flurry by having him caught in the slips for 14 to wrap up Yorkshire’s innings.

Teenager Nathan Fernandes, who posted a maiden century on debut at Northamptonshire last week, was first to depart in the home side’s reply as Thompson found a way through his defences.

Max Holden struck Thompson for three boundaries, but the left-hander’s rhythm appeared to be disrupted after being sent back in the quest for a quick single off Mickey Edwards and he feathered the next one behind.

That wicket preceded another rain delay, but the players returned for nine more overs, during which Stoneman and Du Plooy shaved another 47 runs off the deficit to reach stumps on 38 and 23 respectively.