KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
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Steven Finn took 4/36 as Middlesex finished in a strong position with Derbyshire 205/9 at Lord’s after day one of their LV=County Championship match.
Close, day one
Derbyshire (205/9 - Godleman 55, Durston 48; Finn 4/36)
Finn, playing his first game for Middlesex this season having sat out the ten-wicket victory at Nottinghamshire, took three wickets in four overs after tea to leave the away side struggling.
The paceman was not at his best but the spell from the Pavilion End gave Chris Rodgers’ side impetus after Derbyshire batted carefully for the first two sessions.
With overcast skies hanging over Lord’s and a touch of rain about, Rodgers asked Derbyshire’s skipper Wayne Madsen to have a bat after winning the toss.
The newly promoted side went about their business stubbornly, losing just the wicket of Madsen, who was run out, to get to lunch at 59/1.
Opener Billy Godleman and Wes Durston put up a gritty defence against Middlesex's seam attack on what looked like a good wicket.
After lunch Finn, collecting his 300th first class wicket, had Durston caught by fellow seamer Toby Roland-Jones, which brought West Indies legend Shivnarine Chanderpaul to the crease.
With Godleman ticking along the stage was set for a Chanderpaul to grind the Middlesex attack down.
However, in inexplicable fashion the 38-year-old chipped the ball gently to Joe Denly at midwicket off the bowling off Gareth Berg.
At 132/3 at tea Derbyshire would have been pleased with their work after the first two sessions of the day, but it all unravelled as the sides remerged for the final session of play.
Bowling from his preferred Pavilion end, Finn picked up three wickets in quick succession.
Neil Redfern tickled one down the legside to wicketkeeper John Simpson to depart for 15, the next over saw Chesney Hughes slash at a wide one as Simpson got his second dismissal in as many overs and two overs later Finn had Jonathan Clare trapped lbw.
With wickets tumbling all around him the left-handed Godleman continued unperturbed, finally reaching his fifty off 244 balls in 323 minutes, which included just one four.
The consensus in the JP Morgan Media centre suggested it was one of the slowest ever Championship fifties.
But Godleman could not survive the day and was eventually undone by a Tim Murtagh who had him trapped lbw to leave Derbyshire on 181/9.
Last pair Tim Groenewald and Mark Turner survived to close, as Groenewald hit Olly Rayner for a couple of lofty blows to make sure of a batting bonus point, but Middlesex will be much the happier side heading into day two.