Holden and Simpson steady the ship as Middlesex fight to see off follow on total

Middlesex    vs  Surrey

LV=Insurance County Championship Division One

Thursday 20th July 2023 Peter Moore at Lords

Surrey   433     Middlesex  179-5

A century stand between John Simpson and Max Holden gave Middlesex some hope of saving the follow on against reigning champions Surrey at Lords.

The home side were in trouble at 53-4 before youngster Holden and the reliable Simpson came together to put on 116 for the fifth wicket.

Surrey resumed on their overnight total of 312 for 5, with Jamie Smith on 120. Along with his partner Jordan Clark the stand had raised 105 for the sixth wicket when Middlesex struck the first blow of the morning when Tom Helm bowled Clark for a superb 138 off 194 balls including 16 fours and one six.

Clark quickly moved on to a half century and with the help of Sean Abbott added 37 before Abbott(15) flicked a delivery from the persevering Ethan Bamber straight down deep square legs throat.

Bamber, who bowled well yesterday without any success continued in the same vein in the morning session, at one stage beating the bat no less on five successive occasions.

The introduction of Tim Murtagh half an hour before lunch brought instant rewards when extra bounce accounted for Clark(78) fending off a delivery straight to slip with Surrey 400 for 8.

With lunch delayed, there was time for Helm to pick up career best bowling figures of 6 for 110 after having Tom Lawes(6) leg before and last man Dan Worrall caught at mid off off a leading edge with Surrey dismissed for 433.

Openers Mark Stoneman and Pieter Malan found it tough going against an opening attack of Clark and Worrall, before Stoneman(11) feathered behind a delivery angled in by Clark.

Malan and Sam Robson dug in and managed to stand firm before Malan(18) played a poor shot and under edged into the safe hands of Ben Foakes.

Robson(12) followed shortly afterwards after inside edging a ball from Sean Abbott on to the stumps via his thigh pad as the hosts lost two wickets in seven balls.

It was tough going for Middlesex with Jack Davies taking 19 balls before getting off the mark with a cover drive to the boundary. However next ball Lawes found the outside edge of Davies’s bat and was snapped up at first slip by Dom Sibley as Middlesex lost three wickets inside ten balls.

The hosts managed to get to tea without losing any further wickets with the scoreboard reading 68 for 4.

The final session of play belonged to Middlesex, thanks to Holden and Simpson who added a stand of 116 for the fifth wicket before Abbott bagged the wicket of Holden(55) to leave Middlesex at the close on 179 for 5, still trailing by 254 runs.