Rogers praise for 'England's' Robson
Chris Rogers, the Middlesex captain, welcomed his team's ten-wicket win over Nottinghamshire as the "perfect start" to their Championship campaign and gave particular credit to his opening partner, Sam Robson, who scored 131 runs in the match.
While Robson, a player of considerable potential, has given equivocal answers to questions on his commitment to England or Australia, Rogers seemed more certain. There may be a few ahead of Robson in the queue for an England place at present but, when he becomes eligible on the grounds of residency in a year's time, it could become relevant very quickly.
"Australia are particularly unlucky to have lost Sam," Rogers said. "I think he's made up his mind. He did consider going back, but he is enjoying everything about being at Middlesex and he is being very well looked after. I think his future is in England.
"That season he first game into the side, a couple of years ago, he batted through an entire day about five times. I've done that about five times in my career. I saw he was compared to Mike Atherton the other day and that makes a lot of sense to me. I rate him very highly."
Nottinghamshire were deeply unimpressive in the match. They batted with carelessness and bowled with a lack of discipline and control, not so much defeated as self-defeating. It was an oddly shoddy display and one that left Mick Newell, their director of cricket, underwhelmed.
"I'm disappointed and surprised with the way we've played," Newell, who held one-to-one chats with each of his players after the game, told ESPNcricinfo. "We were sloppy with the bat and our bowling was not up to any sort of standard. The players know that. They feel the same way.
"Middlesex were the better team. But the thing that disappoints me is they beat us playing the sort of cricket we usually play. They did the basics well.
"Our bowling on the second day, in particular, was not good enough. We bowled one good ball an over, but you can't build any pressure if you do that. The bowlers have thrown selection open a bit. And with the bat… maybe we relaxed against Dexter. You wouldn't expect him to take five wickets. There weren't too many jaffas or great deliveries in there. The fact that none of our batsmen scored more than 61 tells its own story."
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo