Prince rules after Middlesex’s fine start

Close, day one: Lancashire 276-4 v Middlesex

Lancs 2pts, Middlesex 1pt

South African international batsman Ashwell Prince turned Middlesex’s fine start in Liverpool on its head.

A fine morning session for the visitors saw three Lancashire wickets tumble for just 55 runs, with Tim Murtagh and Gareth Berg dominating proceedings.

But Prince, demonstrating what may be to come for England in the Test series with the Proteas later in the summer, batted an excellent century with Steven Croft, who took a half-ton himself.

After Lancashire won the toss and chose to bat, they made a quiet start before opening batsman Paul Horton became the first casualty.

Horton (15) was run out with a direct hit on the stumps by Joe Denly in the 18th over, with Lancashire at 36 for their first loss.

But it was soon 37-2 when Horton’s replacement Karl Brown was sent right back where he came from in the next over for a single run.

Lancashire number two Stephen Moore was dropped by Dawid Malan at first slip in the 20th over but England fringe player Eoin Morgan made no mistake at long-leg when Moore (25) hooked straight to him four overs later.

With Lancashire 70-3 at lunch, the outlook was bright for Middlesex.

But Prince was to take that score and make it 276 during afternoon and evening sessions in which he dominated with the bat.

Prince, who has 11 Test centuries to his name for South Africa, brought up his 50 in the 51st over with Lancashire 131-3, and partner Croft was two short of his own half-century by the tea interval.

After much hard work and determination, Middlesex did take another wicket before the end of the day when Murtagh utilised the new ball and made Croft (78) clip to John Simpson.

But after some nine exquisitely struck boundaries, Prince ended the day on an unbeaten 121 with Luke Proctor also not out for 15.

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