County Championship: Worcestershire and Middlesex batsmen struggle on day one

Dawid Malan
Captain Dawid Malan top-scored for Middlesex with 45
Specsavers County Championship Division Two, Blackfinch New Road (day one):
Middlesex 221: Malan 45; Tongue 3-49, Morris 3-53
Worcestershire 64-3: Ferguson 37; Helm 2-14
Worcestershire (3 pts) trail Middlesex (2 pts) by 157 runs

The opening day of Worcestershire's Division Two match against Middlesex at New Road ended just about even as batsmen on both teams struggled.

Middlesex lost opener Max Holden for a duck and wickets continued to fall regularly as they were all out for 221.

England's Dawid Malan (45) was one of a number of batsmen who got starts on a showery day but could not go on.

The Pears closed on 64-3 with Callum Ferguson out for 37 to Toby Roland-Jones a couple of overs from stumps.

The Australian's dismissal, plumb lbw, was a huge boost for Middlesex who still hold a 157-run lead heading into day two.

Earlier, Worcestershire paceman Charlie Morris, the leading wicket-taker in the division, continued to impress in claiming 3-53 to take his season's total to 23 - four ahead of Durham's Chris Rushworth.

The right-armer took the key wicket of Malan, lbw, when Middlesex were well set on 151-4 to give his side a foothold in the match.

Pears bowling coach Alan Richardson told BBC Hereford & Worcester:

"We probably haven't executed as well as we would have liked. But we've come out of it pretty well. We got the 10 wickets so we take that as 'job done.'

"It was a really good effort because we lost Ed Barnard throughout that first session and Ross Whiteley came in and picked up a couple of really vital wickets.

"Tom Fell did a great job. If you want to play Division One cricket and compete, it's about showing patience and discipline long enough. Tom has certainly set himself a really good base."

Middlesex head coach Stuart Law told BBC Radio London:

"I still think we are under-achieving, to have only one hundred from our top six this season. I'm not saying the wicket was easy to get runs on but someone has got to stick their hand up.

"We all know that against the new ball it is difficult but when John Simpson came in, once he got through a difficult start, he started to look pretty comfortable.

"The application needs to be improved. The determination is there but we need to get a better output. We've had seven innings now and to only pass 300 twice is a bit concerning. It's not acceptable."

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