LV County Championship Lord's (first day, Middlesex won toss): Middlesex 300, Worcestershire 9-0
Kabir Ali, in another penetrative and economical display as more celebrated England Test contender Simon Jones rested, reminded the England selectors once again of his value by taking five for 58 off 18.4 overs for Worcestershire in the Division Two championship match at Headquarters yesterday.
The 27-year-old right-arm pace bowler, in leading an impressive Worcestershire attack, did most to reduce the home county to 19 for three before Shaun Udal’s 91, his highest score for 11 years, rescued Middlesex. Kabir, after his second-innings six for 58 in the ten-wicket win over Glamorgan at New Road on Sunday, has taken 42 championship wickets this season at a cost of 19 runs each.
Udal and Tim Murtagh (44) shared a seventh-wicket stand of 105 before Murtagh was out in the 75th over off a top-edged sweep off off-spinner Gareth Batty to Graeme Hick.
Udal’s 147-ball innings included seven fours and two sixes before he was ninth out at 291 when he skied a hook off Kabir that wicketkeeper Steven Davies made his fifth catch of the innings.
Earlier, Middlesex were in trouble in the fifth over of the day when Nick Compton was trapped in front for one by a miserly Matt Mason having taken 14 balls to engage the scorers.
The hosts’ slow progress meant that it was no surprise when England Test reject Owais Shah departed for one as the former skipper was leg-before after missing a straight one from Kabir.
In the 13th over left-handed Dawid Malan drove at a widish delivery from Kabir and edged behind.
Skipper Ed Joyce struggled initially, playing and missing on numerous occasions, before he struck his first boundary, a superb back-foot drive. He and Eoin Morgan pushed the score past 50 before Morgan edged Gareth Andrew behind at 61.
Joyce survived a dropped chance when on 34 just after lunch and was out four short of his half century when un out by a brilliant piece of fielding by Stephen Moore whose direct hit left the batsman well short of his crease.
A further 17 runs were added before Ben Scott became Andrew’s second wicket in the 51st over. Scott attempted to pull a rising delivery but only succeeded in gloving a catch behind – 147 for six.
Fifty runs in 59 balls by Udal and Murtagh pushed the score past 200 to give the home side their first batting bonus point.
Later, Murali Kartik fell for 12 as Middlesex won their second bonus point at 250 in 89th over. The innings ended when Steven Finn was caught off behind off Kabir Ali.
Kabir was well-supported by Mason, who conceded only 30 runs from his 19 overs. Batty also bowled accurately, 53 runs being taken from his 19 overs, but the 29 overs of Andrew and newcomer Imran Arif cost almost half of the total runs in the 89-over innings.
Worcestershire opening batsmen Daryl Mitchell and Stephen Moore survived the remaining five overs of the day, taking the total to nine without loss.