KEEPING LORD'S WORLD CLASS
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John Simpson made an unbeaten 77 not out as Middlesex moved into a first innings lead over Nottinghamshire on day two at Trent Bridge.
The wicketkeeper-batsman steadied the ship after a middle order collapse earlier in the day to see Chris Rodgers’ side take a slender lead with four wickets in hand at the half way stage of their opening LV= County Championship clash of 2013.
Simpson's first, first-class half-century since Middlesex's final fixture of the 2011 season was one of his more timely, with the former MCC Young Cricketer sharing a partnership of 116 for the sixth wicket with all-rounder Gareth Berg.
Openers Rodgers, who passed 19,000 first-class runs in his knock, and Sam Robson had earlier defied some bowler friendly conditions to reach 106 before the Middlesex captain departed LBW to Ajmal Shahzad - his first wicket for Nottinghamshire - for an even 50.
That sparked a middle-order slump which saw off Joe Denly, Dawid Malan and Neil Dexter and when Steve Fletcher dismissed Robson for an impressive 76, Notts appeared to have wrestled the ascendancy back from the visitors.
But Simpson, who lost his place in the first XI during a poor summer with the bat in 2012, was aggressive from the start, striking two sixes, before adopting a more measured approach to see Middlesex into the lead before a slightly early finish.
The only blemish on an otherwise successful day for the visitors was the news that James Harris, their new signing, has a suspected hamstring strain. It is currently unclear if he will be able to bowl in the second innings.