Ah the English summer. Well, April, anyway. What better place for the Sofa to begin our 2012 county coverage than at dear old Lord’s? Middlesex are taking on Surrey’s bright young things at HQ in what is, as ‘Mr Surrey’ Sofa Dan would have you believe, the fiercest derby in world sport. At least the 1,200 or so hardy souls in attendance on day one would agree.
After last week’s win over Sussex at the Oval, Lady Hamilton-Brown’s boys are desperate to prove they can walk their talk. But the Spice Boys of said captain, Jade Dernbach, Tom Maynard and co. were innocuous at best before lunch after inviting the hosts to bat.
Elderly war horse Jon Lewis added to his four wickets from the Oval early on, having Joe Denly snaffled behind by Steven Davies for ten. Dernbach also pinned Chris Rodgers for 20 before all nipped off for isotonic sandwiches or whatever it is that gives one an ‘incremental advantage for elite performance’ at the lunch break these days.
Then came the inevitable deluge. Still, it provided a golden opportunity to remark upon the excellent drainage at the Home of Cricket for those with word counts to reach and deadlines to meet. God knows what the charming people from a Japanese TV company made of it all as they wandered around the Media Centre looking for anyone from The Times.
The minds of the players wander, too, and it wasn’t long before Daniel made inventive use of social media – taking to Twitter to play mind games with Middlesex batsman Gareth Berg and his middle-order colleagues, at this sacred ground of all places. The man knows no limit.
Back on under powder blue skies, Middlesex began to crumble. First, Tim ‘The Viscount’ Linley removed Sam Robson’s off pole before captain Neil Dexter was bowled by Dernbach off an inside edge playing two bad shots to one average delivery and John Simpson feathered behind the next ball.
And the boy Berg copped it soon after, losing his leg stump to the Viscount in a triumph for the Sofa’s social media experiment.
Dawid Malan was stoic for his unbeaten 62, though, helping his side to a recovery of sorts and 225/9 at the close, paving the way for a century partnership for the last wicket tomorrow if anyone not from Surrey has anything to do with it. Now then, where’s Mark Ramprakash on Twitter...
We’re doing our (probably sporadic) county coverage this summer for you, Sofragettes. Let us know what you think and what sort of stuff you’d like us to cover over the English season by tweeting @testmatchsofa or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.