Koenig leaves Lancashire spinners feeling sore

Middlesex 323-5 v Lancashire

Clearly it is Middlesex Openers' Week. After Andrew Strauss' heroics in the Test match it was the turn of his county opening partner, Sven Koenig, who was averaging 16 up until this match and was in danger of being dropped, to block the Championship favourites and re-affirm, through a long, hot, dusty day, that Middlesex, too, are contenders.

Clearly it is Middlesex Openers' Week. After Andrew Strauss' heroics in the Test match it was the turn of his county opening partner, Sven Koenig, who was averaging 16 up until this match and was in danger of being dropped, to block the Championship favourites and re-affirm, through a long, hot, dusty day, that Middlesex, too, are contenders.

Koenig finished unbeaten on a career-best 170 to cause a few glasses to be raised in his native Durban tonight.

Middlesex took the precaution of having their coach John Emburey inspect the pitch on Monday afternoon, a wise move after the annihilation of Worcestershire in the previous match. Owais Shah (playing because Strauss is being rested by England) was smart enough to win the toss and bat first on an altogether drier surface that gave little or no help, under a clear sky, to the quicker bowlers.

Koenig, aided by a watchful Ben Hutton, needed only 68 balls to reach his first 50. But after only 22 overs Gary Keedy appeared and that set the pattern for the day. Old Trafford is the new Kingdom of Spin.

Keedy began with 16 overs off the reel from the Statham End, tempting Hutton into giving a nimbly-taken catch at deed mid-wicket when the openers were eight short of a century stand.

Koenig, looking as grittily determined as Gary Kirsten, took 84 balls off his second 50 but brought up his 100 by hoisting Keedy for a spectacular six over long on.

At 115 he was missed at first slip off James Anderson, an over after the fast bowler had pinned Paul Weekes. His third 50 needed 110 balls and if the ball sometimes finished in unexpected places as partners came and went, Koenig himself remained as imperturbable as the Drakensberg.

With Peter Martin absent for a minor knee operation and Dominic Cork rested, Lancashire looked a bowler short almost all day and if this turns out to be a hot, dry summer then another spinner will be needed, perhaps Chris Schofield or Gary Yates being recalled from the second Xl. Otherwise Keedy and Carl Hooper, who occasionally appeared in tandem, will be sporting very sore fingers.

But so confident was Warren Hegg of his spinners that he delayed taking the new ball for 10 overs, although by then Koenig had found an equally obstructive partner in David Nash, and a tickled single off Anderson took him past his previous career-best of 166 last year.

By the close - and they managed 110 overs in the day - Keedy was back bowling again.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Sport
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
News
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
News
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower