Emilio won't get carried away after hitting excellent century for Northants against Middlesex

Emilio Gay (picture: Peter Short)Emilio Gay (picture: Peter Short)
Emilio Gay (picture: Peter Short)
Northamptonshire opener Emilio Gay is keeping his feet on the ground after racking up a superb 165 not out on the opening day of the Vitality County Championship Division Two clash with Middlesex.

Gay was the star of the show for a Northants side who set the tone in their home opener, having battled to secure a draw at Sussex in their season curtain-raiser.

Luke Procter (73) and Karun Nair (41) also contributed for John Sadler’s side as they put early pressure on Middlesex at the County Ground, finishing day one on 311 for three.

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“That was the motivation for me when I got to 100, just recognising that first inning scores are important, and hundreds don't get recognised; going on and getting big scores to put your team in commanding positions is probably the most important thing," Gay said.

"Also, that first hour was so tough that I just remembered how tough it can be in this country opening the batting. You want to cash in.

“I've never batted a whole day without being out. I've got hundreds, but I've got out just before the end. So, to see it off at the end and come back tomorrow a bit more refreshed is a good feeling.

“I enjoy batting with Proccy (Luke Procter). He’s so calm, and he's got such a good head on him.

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"Every time he sees you looking maybe outside of your bubble, he just comes down and reminds you the state of the game.

"I like him batting at three, just the skipper coming in when there's a bit of pressure, when you've lost a wicket.

"Then with Karun (Nair), and Rob (Keogh), we've got three very, very experienced players after the openers. That experience will really help me going forward just with those situations.

“I think the most frustrating thing at Sussex (last week) was I felt really good against Ollie Robinson, who is one of the best bowlers in the country. But I got strangled first innings, and then second innings, didn't cash in.

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"But ultimately, you can't be too up and down. That's what I've learned.

"Before, I've got low scores and taken it to heart a little bit, but you never know when the next one's around the corner. It's just about cashing in.

“The odd ball beat the bat today and we just let them have that hour and then after 20, 30 overs the Kookaburra ball goes soft and you can really cash in.

“It's just a bonus that I'm fit and playing with no knee issues and then I can go out and enjoy my cricket better.

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"It’s a funny old game - 12 months ago, I wasn’t even walking and now I've started the season with a 100. It's a great feeling but I’m just trying to keep my feet on the ground and keep putting Northants in great positions.

"The end goal is to get promoted and stuff but we're going to do that game by game, but today was a good day but we've got to back it up tomorrow.”

Middlesex bowler Tom Helm said: “I think in patches we actually did a really good job.

"If you look at the scoreboard and see 311, it doesn't look like we've had that good a day, but on that surface with that ball, I think we're all reasonably happy.

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"We're not going out and celebrating, but we did a reasonably good job.

“We were definitely on the money quicker this week. We were disappointed with how we went, particularly the start of the last game. And with these Kookaburra balls, that bit’s the most important bit to get right, so it was nice to put that right.

"Both guys bowled really well with the new ball. But it was a tough day’s toil.

“There were a couple of balls there today that went through quite nicely to the keeper and you think, okay there’s a bit here for me.

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"Then you go the next 18 overs, maybe one in those would go through and it would just make life quite unpleasant. Because you feel you're not necessarily doing loads wrong, but all of a sudden, guys are climbing into length balls and hitting them at the speed of light.

“Emilio played brilliantly right but we thought the bumper was probably one of our better ways to get him out.

"Karun Nair chipped one off the handle that could have gone to anyone, but it went straight up in the air and dropped.

"So, it was another one of those days really but credit to them, they played well, but I don’t think we did loads wrong. It’s just tricky with these Kookaburra balls.

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“I suppose the luxury is we're going at three and a half an over rather than five as we were last week, so for them to get 620 might take too much time out of the game.

"So, I think it will go slightly differently to last week. I can't see them batting for the majority that day tomorrow and there's a lot of runs out there still to be had.”

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