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    As Leicestershire recovers, Handscomb hosts hundred at HQ
As Leicestershire recovers, Handscomb hosts hundred at HQ
Nathan Gilchrist claimed a six-wicket haul to skittle Lancashire. Source: Getty Images

As Leicestershire recovers, Handscomb hosts hundred at HQ

Peter Handscomb's maiden century at Lord's rescued Leicestershire from early trouble as their Vitality County Championship clash with hosts Middlesex finally got underway on the second day.

The Australian had never passed 50 on home soil in two partial seasons at the home of cricket, but the former Seaxes captain haunted them with a stoic 304-minute, 188-ball effort as the visitors reached 306 after stumbling to 83 for 4. Handscomb shared stands of 64 with Rehan Ahmed and 82 with Tom Scriven - the latter partnership for the ninth wicket.

Middlesex, guilty of losing both Handscomb on 48 and Rehan on 18, employed some bizarre fielding throughout the day, conceding a plethora of runs to an all-too-often empty third deck. However, there were some inspired changes of bowling, with wickets falling in the first over of a bowler's spell on three separate occasions. Ethan Bamber was the pick of the Middlesex attack with 4 for 68.

The hosts, with 18 overs left to bat, closed on 64 for 1 when Mark Stoneman lost his wicket.

In another quirk of an interesting day, Middlesex were on their fourth ball before 36 overs had been completed, the previous three having gone out of order.

After an opening day completely washed out by rain, it was no surprise that home skipper Toby Roland-Jones opted to bowl first after winning the toss, but Leicestershire made a quick start with 27 off the first four overs.

The first change of ball, in the fifth over, brought the breakthrough when Bamber bowled one to Rishi Patel, which straightened off the pitch and crashed into his off stump.

Marcus Harris, who'd already edged two through the slips in a nervy effort, was soon trapped lbw in Bamber's next over and when Lewis Hill edged Ryan Higgins' third ball to slip, the Foxes were 50 for 3.

Louis Kimber threatened for a moment before lazily hooking Henry Brookes' fourth ball of the day down the throat of the deep square to leave Leicestershire in a bit of trouble.

Handscomb, though, had started positively, sending a Roland-Jones half-volley to the fence and, with Rehan for company, they reached lunch without further loss.

The spinner was given a reprieve soon after the resumption when Stephen Eskinazi dropped a regulation catch at slip - Bamber the unlucky bowler. The reprieve seemed to liberate the all-rounder, who twice lifted Bamber over mid-wicket for four before the seamer took a catch and bowled to finally get his man.

The trio of Bens, Cox, Mike, and Green didn't last long and at 208 for 8 the hosts must have thought they were through.

But Handscomb, dropped on 48 by Roland-Jones - a difficult catch and bowl - found an ally in Scriven, who played with enterprise and hit four boundaries.

That left Handscomb, who had been driving and deflecting the ball well throughout the day, just three short of a century and Leicestershire within 10 of a second batting bonus point when Scriven, four short of a sixth first-class fifty, miscued a shot to Max Holden at midwicket.

Handscomb, however, reached his landmark with the help of nine fours and added a boundary before being run out, Bamber's fourth victim.

Stoneman fell early in Middlesex's reply, bowled around the legs by Mike, but Sam Robson, playing for the first time since injuring his thumb in the season opener against Glamorgan, and the in-form Holden batted through to stumps without undue concern.

Before play began, a poignant minute's silence was observed in memory of Worcestershire spinner Josh Baker, who tragically died earlier this week aged just 20.

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