Middlesex v Northamptonshire
Middlesex need to get over the loss of Steven Finn soon. The batting in the first innings (347) was within in the limits of bearable, but allowing Northamptonshire a first innings total of 581/7 dec, incl. an equally impressive as well as tragic 199 by Stephen Peters, moved any chances of a victory out of their reach. Altogether Middlesex tried 9 (!) different bowlers but to not a lot of avail. Loaded with confidence and aided by a grey cloud cover Northants made the ball leap around, good starts by Malan and Robson and a respectable tailender's battle by Danny Evans in the second innings proved not to be enough to secure a draw as Middlesex were dismissed for 285, leaving Northans a victory target of 52 from 20 overs.
I am absolutely convinced that had Finn been playing Northants would have had to fight a bit harder for their total. Middlesex have a good attack but for some reason they seemed to look deflated. Danny Evans is a great prospect though, he bowled a couple of "demonic" (K. Hand) overs, and Collins looked on fire as well during the last innings. Hence I think Finn's absence can be compensated; Middlesex have no choice but plug the hole somehow, as he will be out for, like, all time. According to Cricinfo Finn will undergo a strengthening program and thus, despite not playing in the ODIs, not be available for Middlesex' T20 campaign.
Sam Robson getting accustomed at No. 1 is a good sign, as Strauss will not return either, as he is getting prepared for the ODIs and being busy with England in general. Morgan might make an appearance but the weather forecast for Wednesday's match against Somerset is gloomy. The more has Shah's increasingly good form to be appreciated. Owais is the man in the top order and he needs to guide the partnerships as long as Newman is struggling.
"There I fixed it"
The skipper deserves an extra mention though: after leaving the field to get treatment for his split webbing he came back like nothing had happened and returncaught Peters on above mentioned 199. Udal is the king. Always in the wickets.
This is not a depressed post at all. Middlesex never depress me for some reason, you think of their line-up and have a smile on your face. I firmly believe this team is good and ready to win the big battles. Go Middx!