Ben reflects on one of his best overs after strong first day for Northants against Middlesex

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Ben Sanderson reflected on 'one of the best overs I've bowled since being at Northampton' after a productive first day against Middlesex.

Sanderson took three wickets in eight balls at the start of the day as his side took control.

Middlesex were eventually bowled out for 149 before Northamptonshire finished the day on 111 for three.

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And Sanderson, who missed the season opener at Kent last week, said: “It was good to be back.

Ben SandersonBen Sanderson
Ben Sanderson

"I kind of surprised myself how I started as well really. That first over was probably one of the best I’ve bowled since being at Northampton.

"It was a helpful little toss to win. I think there was a little green tinge this morning, so we definitely had the best of the conditions with the ball.

"I think the pitch will flatten out and hopefully we’ll kick on tomorrow."

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Luke Proctor closed the day on 39 not out, partnered by Rob Keogh, who is 17 not out, as Northamptonshire look to close the 38-run gap.

They will hope to give their bowlers a chance to put more pressure on Middlesex by building a big lead.

And Sanderson said: “It’s a very healthy looking bowling attack at the minute and especially like, on another day, Jack White could have run through them and got a few more edges or Trem (Chris Tremain) could have got a few more edges.

"I just think that that quality and depth that we've got with all five of the bowlers today is outstanding from the club to get them all on the park at the same time.

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“I think we did leave a little bit more grass on it try and get some carry and it certainly helped and it got flatter throughout the day when the ball got a bit older. So, it was a good cricket wicket, I would say.

“It’s definitely a new ball pitch. So, our tactics were just to bat for an hour and get that ball soft. But it seems to have paid off.

"Hopefully we get big partnership tomorrow with these two that are in now, get us in front if it does rain a little bit, that might keep a bit more moisture in the pitch for us later on."

Middlesex all-rounder Ryan Higgins, who scored 70 for the second match in a row and took one wicket, said: “It was tough going to start with. I think the new ball early this morning did quite a lot more than maybe it has throughout the day, but they built a lot of pressure and I thought it was a good bowling effort from them. And then we were just trying to claw it back as much as we could.

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“It wasn't a good toss to lose. It was tough conditions early; you could tell straight away. Sanderson and White were right on it, and it was difficult going.

“It did feel like it was sort of a similar situation (to his 70 against Essex). I suppose, almost in a way though, I felt a bit more comfortable today just with having done it last week.

"I just tried to get out at the bowlers and make them come to me a little bit and eventually they did in a way. And batting with Ethan (Bamber) at the end there was quite nice.

"We just had a simple game plan and I suppose it worked to a degree, but unfortunately, we couldn't get any more.

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“I think the grass was sort of a live green colour and as it went on, it went a bit more brown and a bit more dead. But you never know here, if there's any clouds or stuff like that, you never know how it's going to play. So, we've got to be right on it with the ball tomorrow and make sure we don't let them get too far ahead.

“We’re always looking to try and win the game. So, I suppose with three days left, it's a long way away, but I think it's anything's possible.

"We've got to make sure that we believe that in the second innings when we bat.

"Guys can't bowl forever, so the more time we put in their legs and a bit more pressure we put on them it could go our way.”