Imperious Gatting leads Middlesex charge

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Middlesex 500-6 v Nottinghamshire

A productive first day for Middlesex could have been even better but for the loss of Mike Gatting and Keith Brown towards the end of play.

Gatting won the toss, Paul Weekes and Jason Pooley opened the innings and Pooley in particular was in excellent form on an easy-paced pitch against some modest bowling.

He reached his fourth Championship century of the season and his first at Lord's off only 94 deliveries eight minutes before lunch. It included a six and 18 fours and he was particularly hard on the two slow left-arm bowlers, Usman Afzaal and James Hindson.

He struck five fours off the former and six off the latter as he accelerated towards his century, his second 50 coming off only 28 deliveries.

Weekes was the perfect foil, but was out soon after lunch for 50 and then Mark Ramprakash continued his fine county form with 62 off only 75 balls before he was well caught at square leg by Paul Johnson to give Andy Pick his second wicket of the day.

John Carr failed to score but Gatting and Keith Brown then added 213 for the fifth wicket in 48 overs - with Gatting in imperious form.

He struck 22 fours in all and Brown found the boundary 10 times as Nottinghamshire tried seven bowlers without success until, with just four overs of the day remaining, Gatting and Brown were out within four deliveries of each other to give Nottinghamshire some hope.

n Young Australia suffered the worst day of their tour so far as Leicestershire moved into a powerful position at the Grace Road yesterday. The tourists were bowled out for 220 in 52 overs - their lowest total of the tour - before Leicestershire reached 196 for 3 in reply by the close. Leicestershire's acting captain, James Whitaker, playing first-class cricket for the first time for more than a month after an ankle injury, led the way with a brilliant century - his third of the summer.