Day one: Middlesex 290-6 (96 overs)

HAMPSHIRE suffered another early season injury double whammy against county champions Middlesex. 

Fidel Edwards and Rilee Rossouw spent most of the day in the treatment room as Middlesex made a good start to the defence of their Specsavers County Championship title.

Middlesex were 220-2 but closed on 290-6 after Hampshire fought back, following a 105-run second-wicket partnership between Sam Robson (84) and Steve Eskinazi (82) for the county champions.

After a wayward start, Edwards made the first breakthrough with a beauty that squared up the left-handed Nick Gubbins (13), who edged low to a diving Rossouw at second slip.

But the former West Indies star, who strained a hamstring against Cardiff MCCU two weeks ago, was forced off after the first ball of his sixth over.

Middlesex's second-wicket pair capitalised and Hampshire's afternoon worsened when Rossouw was went off after injuring a finger on his left hand.

He had hurt it following an earlier delivery from Edwards and left the field when he dropped a chance to catch Robson, on 40, off Kyle Abbott.

Robson finally departed when he drove at a full ball from Gareth Berg and edged to Jimmy Adams, who held on to his right having replaced Rossouw at second slip.

Having already hit former Middlesex teammate Berg for six, left-hander Dawid Malan hoisted a full toss from slow left-armer Liam Dawson for six over the short mid-wicket boundary.

Then James Vince put down Eskinazi on 58 at short cover. Abbott was the unfortunate bowler once again.

Fortunately it did not prove to be too costly as Hampshire gradually began to make inroads.

Malan, who scored two centuries against Hampshire last season, nicked a Brad Wheal delivery angled across him to Sean Ervine at first slip.

Ervine was two overs into a tidy spell from the Hotel End and soon made the next breakthrough.

In his fourth over he beat Eskinazi’s forward defensive, bowling the right-hander for 82 (173 balls).

Lewis McManus was struck by a flying bail in the process. Hampshire’s wicketkeeper did not become the new physio's third patient but will no doubt be glad of the new ruling that will see bails attached to stumps from October.

Hampshire struck twice in the first 11 overs with the second new ball.

Abbott claimed the big scalp of Adam Voges when the Australian chopped on a ball that was too close to cut.

With six overs of the day remaining, John Simpson (nine) sliced Wheal to point, where substitute Mason Crane took a straightforward catch above his head after being left out for the second consecutive match.

Hampshire director of cricket Giles White was pleased with the fight back after the loss of Edwards and Rossouw.

"Fidel was just starting to bowl well," he said. "It's certainly disappointing but hopefully he’s not out for too long.

"We think Rilee’s chipped a bone in his finger, we’re slightly concerned about that. He's disappointed and we're disappointed but that's the way it is.

"We’ll know more in the morning but at the moment it’s quite swollen and sore so we’ll assess and see where we are."

White was pleased with the comeback after Middlesex were 220-2.

"Being a man down there was a big workload on the others. We’ve done well to get where we are and would have taken that from the position we were in.

"We showed good discipline. From a slow start and after a couple of missed chances we came back well.

"I was pleased with how the lads stuck to it against a good team. It was a good team effort on a good wicket." 

Hampshire bowling: Edwards 5.1-1-18-1, Abbott 22.5-6-73-1, Berg 21.3-6-47-1, Wheal 19-2-69-2, Dawson 19-4-63-0, Ervine 8-4-15-1