Former Australia batsman Adam Voges made 92 as Middlesex launched the defence of their English County Championship title with a hard-fought draw away to Hampshire on Monday.
Voges, the oldest player to make a hundred on Test debut when he scored 130 against the West Indies as a 35-year-old in 2015, called time on his international career this year.
Last month saw the now 37-year-old West Australian announce his retirement from Australian domestic first-class cricket.
But he could still play a key role as Lord’s-based Middlesex look to retain the First Division title.
Middlesex were 111 for four overnight, a lead of just 29 runs, and in danger of suffering a last-day defeat against a Hampshire side who opened their Championship campaign with a surprise win away to Yorkshire.
Voges, 29 not out overnight at Southampton, was in sight of what would have been his 33rd first-class century when, just three deliveries after Hampshire took the new ball, he was caught behind off former South Africa fast bowler Kyle Abbott.
Voges, whose Test average of 68.87 is second only to Donald Bradman, arguably cricket’s greatest batsman, among players who have featured in at least 20 Tests, batted for nearly four hours, facing 196 balls including 19 fours.
His exit was the start of a three-wicket collapse that left Middlesex struggling at 215 for seven.
But the tail wagged and the game was drawn after Middlesex on 278 for nine declared in their second innings.
Abbott maintained his fine start to the season by taking five for 59.
– Sangakkara shines –
At The Oval, Sri Lanka great Kumar Sangakkara’s century helped Surrey eke out a draw with Lancashire that saw the hosts go top of the table.
Scott Borthwick (108 not out) and fellow left-hander Sangakkara (136) put on 256 for the third wicket.
Dropped at slip on 72, Sangakkara was eventually out when bowled round his legs by former England left-arm spinner Simon Kerrigan.
Elsewhere, England leg-spinner Adil Rashid took the one wicket Yorkshire needed to secured an innings and 88-run win away to Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
In-form Yorkshire paceman Ben Coad took five wickets in each innings for a match haul of 10 for 102.
In the Second Division, there was a foretaste of a potential Ashes battle to come as Nottinghamshire beat Durham by nine wickets at Chester-le-Street.
England opener Keaton Jennings carried his bat for an unbeaten 102 in Durham’s second innings 250 against a Nottinghamshire attack led by Australia fast bowler James Pattinson.
The duo could be in opposition when England defend the Ashes in Australia later this year and personal honours from this match were about even after Pattinson bowled Jennings for 28 in Durham’s meagre first-innings 162.
Defeat left Durham on minus 45 points after they were hit with a 48-point penalty and demoted to the second tier last season after receiving a financial bail-out from the England and Wales Cricket Board.
In a round of matches where several batsmen were dismissed within sight of hundreds, former South Africa Twenty20 international Richard Levi (99) and Rob Newton (98) helped Northamptonshire chase down a target of 326 in 65 overs to beat Derbyshire by three wickets.
Meanwhile veteran Kent all-rounder Darren Stevens starred with both bat and ball in a 226-run win away to Sussex at Hove.
The 40-year-old, who’d already made two fifties, took five for 51 as Sussex were dismissed for 200 on Monday.