Scott Newman sets strong platform for Middlesex
Middlesex 228 for 3 v Derbyshire
Scott Newman enjoyed himself at Derby for the second year running to give Middlesex the edge on a rain shortened opening day in County Championship Division Two. Newman scored a century for Surrey at the County Ground in April 2009 and he added an unbeaten 119 from 185 balls before the weather ended play shortly before tea.
But Derbyshire should have cut short his innings on 15 when captain Greg Smith put him down at mid-off three overs before lunch off the bowling of seamer Tim Groenewald. Newman spent the morning in the slow lane, scoring only 20 in 29 overs, but he moved into overdrive after lunch, plundering 99 in the session as Middlesex closed on 228 for 3.
Runs had come at a trickle after the visitors had won the toss, with Derbyshire bowling 10 maidens in the first 16 overs of an overcast day. But the home side wasted the new ball by bowling too wide and did not make the openers play enough, which allowed them to bat through the first hour.
Steffan Jones - who also gained his county cap - was rewarded for bowling a straighter line when John Simpson pushed forward and edged into Stephen Adshead's gloves with the total on 36. Graham Wagg marked his first Championship appearance since April by having Owais Shah well caught at third slip for 12 in the 25th over and Groenewald should have claimed Newman's wicket off the first ball of the next over.
At lunch, Middlesex were 63 for 2 but the scoring rate increased dramatically in the afternoon as Newman and Dawid Malan dominated the bowling to the extent that 165 runs came in 32 overs. Newman had only eight scoring shots to his name in the morning but he was a man in a hurry after bringing up his half-century, which took 106 balls, with a pull for four off Smith.
His second 50 came off only 57 balls and contained a six over long-off from the left-arm spin of Robin Peterson as he moved to his second Championship century of the season. Newman had missed out in the previous game against Glamorgan when he was dismissed on 99 but he made no mistake this time, driving Jones through mid-off for his 19th four in the 54th over.
Malan had played the supporting role with 41 from 85 balls and was only 20 runs short of 1,000 for the season when he dragged a drive at Wes Durston's offspin into his stumps. The third-wicket stand had added 139 in 32 overs and had established a good platform for Middlesex to take control of the match - but only four more overs were possible before the rain arrived.
Newman was one run away from a century between lunch and team when the umpires took the players off the field and with the rain becoming increasingly heavier, play was called off for the day at 4.45pm.