Glamorgan 309 for 9 v Middlesex
Glamorgan's batsmen rode their luck to hit three half-centuries and share the opening-day honours in their County Championship clash with Middlesex at Lord's. Wicketkeeper Mark Wallace top-scored for the visitors with an unbeaten 73 as Glamorgan somehow survived a torrid opening session and fought back either side of lunch to post 309 for 9 after losing three late wickets to the second new ball.
Batting first on a testing, seamer-friendly pitch, Glamorgan were soon in trouble when in-form England paceman Steven Finn struck with only his second ball of the day from the Pavilion End. Moving too far across his stumps when aiming to leg, opening bat Mark Cosgrove left leg stump exposed to Finn and went for a second-ball duck.
Though they played and missed on numerous occasions, second-wicket partners Gareth Rees and Mike Powell managed to fight their way through to lunch at 71 for 1 and took the total on to 84 before Middlesex finally ended the stand.
Powell twice inside-edged attempted drives just past his stumps for boundaries to fine leg on his way to a chancy, 74-ball 50 with nine fours, while left-handed Rees spent 37 minutes becalmed on seven before both players fell in the space of six overs in the mid-session. Powell (55) followed a Tim Murtagh out-swinger to edge behind, then Rees went for 38 when his slashed drive off debutant Iain O'Brien flew to Adam London at the wider of two gullies.
Ben Wright (11) made a late decision to shoulder arms against Gareth Berg only to see the ball glance off the face of the bat and onto the base of the stumps, then former Middlesex allrounder Jamie Dalrymple (24) played across the line to go lbw to the same bowler.
At 147 for 5, Glamorgan were seemingly in deep trouble and Middlesex cock-a-hoop, but the visitors rallied through a sixth-wicket stand worth 111 in 20 overs between Australian Jim Allenby and Wallace. Allenby looked in complete control in posting an 80-ball 50 with four fours and two sixes, while Wallace reached the landmark even more quickly from only 49 balls, and with eight fours and a six, as the pair cantered along at 5.55 an over.
In a bid to hasten the arrival of the new ball, Middlesex skipper Shaun Udal introduced the occasional spin of Dawid Malan - who fortuitously broke the partnership by trapping Allenby leg before. Aiming for a third six into the grandstand, Allenby heaved across the line at a long-hop and inexplicably missed it to go for 57.
With the new ball secured, Middlesex made further inroads when Tim Murtagh claimed a second scalp, that of James Harris to a sharp slip catch by Andrew Strauss, O'Brien had Dean Cosker lbw for 11 and David Harrison miscued Berg to mid-on.
Berg, with 3 for 51, proved the pick of the Middlesex attack while the luckless Murtagh deserved better than his return of 2 for 51. Offspinner Udal finished wicketless after 10 overs, which perhaps goes some way to explaining Glamorgan's decision to drop veteran Robert Croft from their starting XI. It is the first time since 1994 that the former England offspinner has been dropped when available.