Dernbach leads strong Surrey bowling display
Middlesex 225 for 9 (Malan 62*, Dernbach 3-33) v Surrey
All seemed ordinary for the first day of a new season at Lord's. The media centre was getting a lick of paint but, save the scaffolding, the ground was just how everyone had left it last September. Then the scorecards arrived.
Lord's had always produced top-pocket fitting scorecards, vaguely A5 size, for all matches until advertising demands saw the version for international matches increased to A4. But now, for the first time, the larger size is in place for Middlesex matches too, and the price increased by 30p.
It was a top-level decision, inspired by demand from spectators for more space to write in the particulars of each innings. And despite more than an hour's break for rain after lunch, scorecard-holders were busily scribbling as Surrey took control of the day's play with five wickets for 43 during the middle session.
Jade Dernbach took two of them. He is the marquee name of the attack but Rory Hamilton-Brown waited until his third change to introduce him. He was sporting a sleeve on his left forearm to protect his latest tattoo - a cherub playing a guitar - and bowled with pace and an immaculate line to get through six overs for 10 runs before lunch, trapping Chris Rogers lbw as he fell over a full inswinger.
Following the extended lunch break, he sent down seven further overs before tea and conceded only 10 more. He produced an error from Neil Dexter who, in deciding to shoulder arms, got a bottom edge on to leg stump. Next ball another teasing delivery forced John Simpson to play and he edged to Gareth Batty at first slip.
The double strike followed a wicket for Tim Linley, slightly unexpectedly playing in place of Stuart Meaker, who was looking forward to a Lord's debut earlier in the week. Linley's natural swing bowled Sam Robson driving across the line.
It was a shame for Robson, who made impressive runs at Taunton last week and showed good temperament here to leave well - an important facet against an attack that was very consistent and produced movement throughout the day.
Robson drove with measure, including the shot of the day down the ground off Chris Jordan, and also showed ability off the back foot - striking two boundaries off Linley's first over into the grandstand fence. But a change to the Nursery end gave Linley his wicket and without Robson's control, Middlesex were exposed in the afternoon, slumping to 129 for 7.
They might have been shot out but for Dawid Malan, an attractive left-hander who cut well, was strong off his legs and showed the necessary patience. His 143-ball half-century gave Middlesex a batting point as he finally found a partner in Tim Murtagh. The pair batted carefully, enjoyed moments of fortune - being beaten outside off on several occasions - and added 53 in 18 overs before Murtagh missed a slog-sweep off Batty. There was also a Toby Roland-Jones cameo before he fell to Jordan with an over left in the day.
But there was little else. Gareth Berg flashed across the line of a wickedly swinging full ball and lost his off stump to give Linley his other success, while Ollie Rayner became the fourth man on the card to be bowled. He fell to one that beat his bat off the pitch from Jon Lewis, who also wobbled the new ball via Joe Denly's outside edge to Steve Davies for the first wicket of the day.
Alex Winter is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo