Cricket: Emburey ensures Middlesex reward: Leicestershire ignore Briers' lead - Kent self-destruct on turning pitch

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Leicestershire 397 and 237

Middlesex 623-9 dec and 12-0

Middlesex win by 10 wickets

MIDDLESEX'S Championship season at last got under way with an emphatic win over Leicestershire here yesterday. It owed much to the experience and expertise of Mike Gatting and John Emburey, who both made superlative contributions which were well supported from time to time in other areas.

Leicestershire, who have made their best post-war start to a season with four wins out of five, have learned a lot about themselves during the past few days and their knowledge would have increased if they could have batted all day to save the game.

On a pitch where Emburey and Paul Weekes were able to exploit the bowlers' footmarks and where the ball bounced unevenly for the quicker men. It may have been asking a lot; yet Nigel Briers, with 85 from 194 balls, showed what a mixture of moral fibre and self-discipline could do.

However, Phil Simmons was caught at mid-off following an extravagant innings that suggested that 226 might have been required to win rather than save the match.

After that, the chances were mostly rather closer to the bat, as might have been expected. Middlesex held pretty well all of them and if they enjoyed the rub of the green with the odd hairline decision, they had certainly worked hard to make their own good fortune.

Gatting's 225 from 366 deliveries was, for instance, a formidable performance from a man with few runs behind him recently. Sketchy early on he might have been, but he offered no clear-cut chance. Keith Brown's 147-ball century could have ended as early as seven, but the catch was missed and this pair enabled Middlesex to overcome the disadvantage of losing the toss.

Emburey's high-class bowling was the other factor - he had match figures of 9 for 181 from 87 overs. His performance emphasised how Leicestershire missed their injured off spinner, Adrian Pierson.