Haseeb Hameed century leads Nottinghamshire's domination of Middlesex

Haseeb Hameed hits down the ground Getty Images

Nottinghamshire 378 for 4 (Hameed 101, James 90*, Mullaney 79*) vs Middlesex

Division Two leaders Nottinghamshire dominated the opening day of their LV= Insurance County Championship meeting with second-placed Middlesex at Trent Bridge.

There was a second century of the summer for Haseeb Hameed, who made 112 against the same opponents at Lord's in May, and as Nottinghamshire closed on 378 for 4, allrounder Lyndon James was within reach of his second hundred of 2022 on 90 not out, with skipper Steven Mullaney not far behind with an unbeaten 79.

A pitch with a good covering of grass looked like one that might help the bowlers but Mullaney judged it correctly when he chose to bat first on winning the toss. Luke Hollman, the 21-year-old legspinner, picked up the wickets of Hameed and Joe Clarke, but Middlesex gave away too many easy runs, while a couple of dropped catches did not help their cause.

The morning session was indicative of what was to come as Nottinghamshire scored 120 runs at more than four an over.

Toby Roland-Jones removed Ben Slater via a fine outside edge with the final ball of his opening over as he and Tim Murtagh denied the home side any early momentum. The Slater wicket enabled Roland-Jones to nudge on to 36 for the season as the leading wicket-taker in the Championship.

Yet Tom Helm and Martin Andersson proved much easier to get away. Hameed helped himself to three boundaries in Andersson's second over before Ben Duckett did likewise against Helm, who came back to dismiss Duckett for 37 via another edge behind that John Simpson took in front of first slip, but not until the second-wicket partnership had added 74 in 13-and-a-half overs.

Clarke was quickly into the tempo but the return of Murtagh and Roland-Jones after lunch reined him in. He pulled Hollman to move within a shot of a half-century with his sixth four, only to be caught superbly by Sam Robson at slip as he went to cut the next delivery. The third wicket had put on another 103.

Hameed looked in superb form, completing his hundred by drilling Helm through the covers for his 14th boundary. It had been a near-flawless performance to that point, so it was a surprise to see him depart in the next over, bowled by Hollman making an ugly heave across the line.

Four down for 227 would have been five for 228 had a sharp chance to midwicket been held when Mullaney, on one, biffed away a low full toss by the returning Murtagh. Having created so few chances, Middlesex could ill afford to let any pass by.

It proved to be a costly error as he and James added another 151 by the close, James confirming the good impression he made in his first full season last year by completing his third half-century of the current campaign, pulling Andersson for his sixth four to pass the milestone.

Mullaney, potentially on for his best season in red-ball cricket since he topped 1,000 runs for the only time so far in 2016, soon followed, passing fifty for the fifth time when he hit Hollman over mid-off for his fifth boundary.

Middlesex hoped the second new ball might bring a change of fortune on a pitch that had rarely offered their bowlers any encouragement despite its colour. Murtagh and Roland-Jones induced a few moments of anxiety but when the latter found the edge of James's bat on 78, Robson failed to hold on at second slip.