Neil Dexter took a career best 6/63 as Middlesex and Lancashire shared the honours on day one of their LV= County Championship match at Lord's.
Acting as Middlesex's fourth seamer, Dexter bailed out the side's strong pace attack, as Lancashire were bowled out for 266.
Having won the toss, Middlesex skipper Chris Rogers inserted the visitors on an overcast morning. But despite having three frontline seamers in Steven Finn, Tim Murtagh and Toby Roland-Jones, it was the medium pace of Dexter that did the damage, helping reduce Lancashire to 83/4 as the South African allrounder had compatriot Ashwell Prince trapped lbw for 17.
But the home side could not push home the advantage as Lancashire fought back.
Half centuries from England hopeful Jos Buttler (59) and Tom Smith (59) helped the northern county reach a respectable total, on an intriguing day of cricket.
At one stage it looked like Lancashire were in with a shout of a 300 plus total, as Smith and Kyle Hogg (18) put on 38 for the eight wicket. But when Hogg, who's playing his first game of the season for the Red Rose county, was lbw to Dexter with the score at 260, it opened the door and the Panthers quickly wrapped up the innings.
Finn - who finished with 2/60 from his 21.2 overs - bowled Smith to bring the day's action to an end just after 6pm.