Middlesex seamers combine for stunning rout as Surrey lose their London pride


Bamber, Roland-Jones and Murtagh pick up seven wickets in little more than an hour

Middlesex 268 (Robson 95, White 72, Topley 4-56) and 18 for 0 beat Surrey 154 (Murtagh 4-28) and 130 (Burns 54, Roland-Jones 4-29) by 10 wickets

The re-opening of pub beer gardens in the last two weeks has caused a significant blow to Saturday-morning productivity levels for large swathes of London’s population, not least if the stacks of empty plastic pint glasses on St John’s Wood High Street were anything to go by. But Middlesex’s seamers’ efforts on the third day at Lord’s marked them out as outliers, as they took seven wickets before 12.20pm to blow Surrey away and romp home in a derby that had seemed finely poised on Friday evening.

“Bang, bang here, boys,” implored Nick Gubbins from cover as Ethan Bamber stood at the top of his mark at the start of play, but what followed was more like a fusillade: Rory Burns edged the first ball of the day through to John Simpson behind the stumps, and Surrey added only 25 runs to their overnight total as Middlesex rattled through their lower order.

Tim Murtagh had Ben Foakes caught behind and trapped Rikki Clarke in front, and conceded 11 runs in eight unchanged overs from the Nursery End, while Bamber pinned Jamie Smith lbw and Toby Roland-Jones wrapped up the job with three of the last four to finish with 4 for 29. The target was just 17 – just enough for Max Holden to reach his highest score of the season thanks to a couple of crisply-struck boundaries, the second of which sealed the win.

Peter Handscomb, Middlesex’s new captain, didn’t even have time to ask for the words to the team song. “I don’t know what it is, but it’s great,” he said. “To come out the way we did this morning was phenomenal. For Bamber to start with that first ball and get the big wicket of Burns and set the tone was just fantastic.”

It has been a surreal 18 months for Handscomb since he signed for the club, chatting to his future team-mates via WhatsApp and following their progress from afar without being able to meet them in person as restrictions on international travel saw his contract deferred last season. Having watched them slip to a heavy defeat at the Ageas Bowl via Hampshire’s live stream last week while quarantining, victory inside seven sessions represented a near-perfect start – his third-ball duck the only blemish.

“It was nice not to have to go out and face the ball to potentially get a pair on debut for Middlesex,” he laughed. “That was a nice touch. It’s about mentally getting my head around the game and understanding which shots I can and can’t play, and just being able to change that as quickly as possible. We’re figuring out what the Covid restrictions will allow us to do but it’d be nice to be able to get outside and enjoy what is a pretty good win.”

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