Cricket: Middlesex make little progress on rain-hit day
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Derbyshire’s Luis Reece claimed a 50th Championship wicket of the season on a day when only 52 balls were possible in the Specsavers County Champion fixture with Middlesex at Lord’s.
Persistent rain squalls throughout the day allowed for little more than half an hour's play, but all-rounder Reece picked up the one victim he needed to reach the landmark.
By contrast, the bad weather left Middlesex skipper Dawid Malan stranded on 66 not out, leaving him one short of reaching 1,000 Championship runs for the season.
The whole of the morning session was lost after heavy overnight rain relented at 10am, only to return shortly before the rescheduled start of play at 11.30am.
It was 1.50pm before the players could emerge from the Pavilion and the not out batsmen Malan and Martin Andersson began confidently.
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Malan struck a sweet four square of the wicket, while Andersson, looking to follow up his 83 at Old Trafford against Lancashire last week with another sizeable contribution stroked one from Anuj Dal to the cover boundary.
Sadly, for Andersson it would prove his only scoring shot of the day as Reece reached his wicket milestone soon afterwards, finding the edge of the all-rounder's bat to give wicketkeeper Harvey Hosein a straightforward catch.
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John Simpson replaced Andersson at the crease, but couldn't follow up his century against Lancashire last week as the wicketkeeper had made only four when he played across a straight one from Dal to be trapped LBW.
Frustratingly for the hosts it proved to be the last delivery of the session as before James Harris could even take guard the rain returned once more to drive the players from the field for an early tea.
Hopes were raised when the skies briefly cleared, but plans to restart at 3.35pm had to be shelved when the heavens opened yet again.
Middlesex's Sam Robson said: "You get these sorts of frustrating days in cricket and playing at the end of September you half expect you are going to lose some cricket.
"We felt yesterday we had a good day and weren't in a bad position. It's a better pitch than some of the other ones we've played on, but there is enough there which makes it even more pleasing to get to where we are.
Once you got in you could play your shots and it was a pretty good wicket.
"Every player is different dealing with days like today. A lot of garbage is spoken in the dressing room that's for sure.
"I lie, a few guys go to the gym, some read the paper. Guys used to play cards but that has gone out of the game a little bit.
"A few of us watch the horses and have a bet, but I haven't made any money today."