Handscomb hundred haunts hosts at HQ as Leicestershire recover

Former Middlesex captain puts on vital stands with Rehan Ahmed and Tom Scriven

Peter Handscomb pulls, Somerset v Middlesex, LV= County Championship, Taunton, April 29, 2021

Peter Handscomb spent two seasons with Middlesex before joining Leicestershire  •  Getty Images

Middlesex 64 for 1 trail Leicestershire 306 (Handscomb 109, Bamber 4-68) by 242 runs
Peter Handscomb's first century at Lord's rescued Leicestershire from early trouble as their Vitality County Championship clash with hosts Middlesex finally got underway on day two.
The Australian never passed 50 on home turf in two partial seasons at the home of cricket, but the former Seaxes skipper haunted them here with a stoic effort spread over 304 minutes and 188 balls as the visitors reached 306 having earlier stumbled to 83 for 4. Handscomb shared stands of 64 with Rehan Ahmed and 82 with Tom Scriven - the latter partnership for the ninth wicket.
Middlesex, guilty of dropping both Handscomb on 48 and Rehan on 18, employed some bizarre fields over the course of the day, conceding a plethora of runs to a too often vacant third area. However, there were some inspired bowling changes with wickets falling in the first over of a bowler's spell on three separate occasions. Ethan Bamber proved the pick of the Middlesex attack with 4 for 68.
The hosts, left 18 overs to bat and closed 64 for 1, Mark Stoneman the wicket to fall.
Another quirk of an interesting day meant Middlesex were onto their fourth ball before 36 overs were completed, the previous three having gone out of shape.
After an opening day lost entirely to rain it came as little surprise, despite bright overhead conditions, that home skipper Toby Roland-Jones opted to bowl first on winning the toss, yet Leicestershire made a fast start with 27 coming off the first four overs.
The first change of ball in only the fifth over brought a breakthrough when Bamber swung one into Rishi Patel which straightened off the pitch and crashed into his off stump.
Marcus Harris, who'd already edged two through the slips in a skittish effort, soon followed, pinned lbw in Bamber's next over and when Lewis Hill edged Ryan Higgins' third ball to slip the Foxes were 50 for 3.
Louis Kimber threatened briefly before lazily hooking Henry Brookes' fourth ball of the day down the throat of deep square to leave Leicestershire in some trouble.
Handscomb though had begun positively, despatching a Roland-Jones half-volley to the fence and with Rehan for company they reached lunch without further loss.
The spinner was given a life soon after the resumption when Stephen Eskinazi dropped a regulation catch at slip - Bamber the luckless bowler. The reprieve seemed to liberate the all-rounder who twice lifted Bamber over mid-wicket for four before the seamer held a caught and bowled to finally get his man.
A trio of Bens, Cox, Mike, and Green didn't detain us for long and at 208 for 8 the hosts must have thought they were through.
However, Handscomb, dropped on 48 by Roland-Jones - a tough return caught and bowled - found an ally in Scriven who played with enterprise to strike four boundaries.
It meant Handscomb, who drove and deflected the ball well throughout the day, was only three short of a century and Leicestershire within 10 of a second batting bonus point when Scriven smeared a mishit to Max Holden at midwicket to fall four short of a sixth first-class 50.
Handscomb though would reach his landmark with the help of nine fours and add one more boundary before being last out, giving Bamber a fourth victim.
Stoneman fell early in Middlesex reply, bowled around his legs by Mike, but Sam Robson, playing for the first time since injuring his thumb in the opening game of the season against Glamorgan, and the in-form Holden batted through to stumps without undue alarm.
Before play began, a poignant minute's silence was observed in memory of Worcestershire spinner Josh Baker, who tragically passed away earlier this week, aged just 20.

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