Roland-Jones and Harris dismantle brittle Hampshire
Middlesex 59 for 0 trail Hampshire 176 (Gatting 64*, Harris 4-48, Roland-Jones 4-60) by 117 runs
Toby Roland-Jones and James Harris took four wickets apiece as Middlesex dismissed Hampshire for 176 on the opening day of their LV= County Championship Division One match at Lord's, fully justifying the decision to bowl first.
Only Joe Gatting, with a combative unbeaten 64, held up Middlesex for long as Roland-Jones, Harris and Tim Murtagh, who took the other two wickets, worked their way steadily through the Hampshire batting order.
By the close Middlesex had replied with 59 without loss in 13 overs, with Paul Stirling the chief aggressor against the new ball with 36 from 34 balls, with seven fours, and Sam Robson also unbeaten on 17. They are already well-placed to press for a fourth Championship win of the campaign.
Roland-Jones took four of the first seven Hampshire wickets to fall, for figures of 4 for 60, and Harris polished off the tail to earn himself a return of 4 for 48.
Harris, who was awarded his Middlesex county cap during the tea interval, now has 49 first-class wickets this season, with only Lancashire's Kyle Jarvis and Durham's Chris Rushworth ahead of him on the national wicket-taking list.
Eighteen overs were lost when rain swept in at noon to hold up play until 2.20pm but Hampshire, who were 30 for 2 when the players took an early lunch, then declined further during the afternoon and evening sessions.
Roland-Jones took three of the six wickets to fall by tea, at which Hampshire were struggling at 111 for 6 on a well-grassed pitch that offered just enough seam movement to the quicker bowlers.
Afterwards, although he lost partners at regular intervals, Gatting decided to counter-attack and he completed a spirited half-century with a six swung effortlessly into the Grandstand off Harris.
Gatting, only making his first Championship appearance of the season because of injury to Sean Ervine, faced 86 balls in all and struck seven fours besides. Gatting's efforts aside, though, it was otherwise pretty much all Middlesex on the opening day
Murtagh made the initial incision with the fourth ball of the match to have out-of-form Hampshire captain Jimmy Adams caught at the wicket for a duck.
Sean Terry battled hard to reach 23 before Roland-Jones made one go up the Lord's slope just enough to have the right-handed opener also caught by John Simpson behind the stumps.
In the fourth over after the restart Michael Carberry, offering no stroke on 15, was leg-before to Roland-Jones as he thrust out his front pad to another delivery which seamed back up the slope, and Hampshire were 55 for 4 when James Vince was bowled for 13 driving loosely at Harris in the 21st over.
Adam Wheater played a couple of nice shots but on 17 he was bowled shouldering arms to Murtagh, who made one nip back at him - again up the slope.
Will Smith was leg-before for 18 pushing half-forward at Roland-Jones in the 40th over as third-placed Middlesex kept up the pressure on the team currently in joint last place alongside Nottinghamshire in the first division table.
Gareth Berg, playing against the county he served for seven seasons from 2008, made it to 10 before being brilliantly caught off Roland-Jones by Nick Compton, who flung himself to his left from gully.
Danny Briggs edged behind, fencing at Harris, and the same bowler then bowled Brad Wheal for three before ending the Hampshire first innings by having Jackson Bird caught at second slip for 1.