Middlesex v Warwickshire, LV= County Championship
With little real possibility of either side forcing a positive result from this rain affected match, both sides went into the final day with hope rather than real expectation of being able to force a result.
Middlesex were looking to secure their position in Division 1 for 2015, while Warwickshire knew that with Yorkshire looking favourites to overcome Lancashire, a victory was almost essential to maintain a genuine interest in this season’s title race.
Middlesex continued to bat for much of the morning session, adding a further sixty two to their overnight total whilst losing three wickets, with Clarke taking two and Hannon-Dalby the third before the declaration came on 372-9 with a lead of ten.
Tim Murtagh gave Middlesex a brief hope of pulling of a surprise, as Westwood 2 and Trott 0 fell in the same over leaving Warwickshire 33-2 at lunch, before Sam Hain and William Porterfield, opening for the indisposed Varun Chopra, dug in and ensured the draw was to be the final and expected conclusion to this match.
The third wicket pair added an unbeaten 173 in a little above fifty two overs, with Hain completing a third LV County Championship century of his debut season and on debut at Lord’s to close on 106 from 171 balls while partner Porterfield was unbeaten on sixty two from 158 deliveries, before the declaration came on 182-2 and the match was drawn.
Warwickshire, despite Nottinghamshire’s defeat against Durham, remain in third place, just seven points behind the East Midlands side, who are in turn, twenty six points behind leaders, Yorkshire, with all three teams having two more matches each to play before the close of the season.
When the Middlesex first innings finally got underway at the start of the third day’s play, openers Chris Rogers and Sam Robson had posted thirty three runs before Hannon-Dalby bowled Robson for twelve
When Rikki Clarke had Nick Gubbins 8 caught by Peter McKay and Keith Barker trapped Dawid Malan for 12, Middlesex were 65-3 in the 22nd over. However, the fourth wicket pair of Rogers and Neal Dexter took the home side to lunch and then proceeded to bat through most of the afternoon session with a partnership of 127 before Rogers 85 edged Recordo Gordon to McKay and then Gordon struck again when Dexter 70 was caught at slip by Clarke.
John Simpson 53 and Paul Sterling 32* added 65 for the sixth wicket until Barker picked up his second wicket with Simpson lbw before the close but that was to be Warwickshire’s final success of the day as Middlesex closed on 310-6 still trailing by 52 runs on first innings with just one day’s play remaining.
It was a frustrating second day for both sides as rain and bad light allowed just seven overs play in the day whilst elsewhere around the country, sides pushing for Championship glory or avoiding relegation, were able to get virtually full days in.
Rikki Clarke 94 added just a single to his overnight total when play finally got underway just after half past five, before being caught at slip by substitute Ollie Rayner off Toby Roland Jones.
Once Jeetan Patel had been bowled by Murtagh for eight, Varun Chopra declared with the total on 362-8 from 103 overs leaving a potential seven overs for Middlesex to bat before the close, but deteriorating bad light prevented any further play on a disappointing day.
After a flurry of recent successful limited overs matches, Warwickshire returned to LV= County Championship cricket against Middlesex at Lord’s and were put into bat by the home side after skipper Chris Rogers won the toss.
Varun Chopra and Ian Westwood made solid starts completing their 50 opening partnership in the 14th over, but the introduction of Neil Dexter’s medium pace brought two wickets before lunch, as Chopra 28 and Westwood 25 were both bowled before the Bears went to the interval on 93-2.
William Porterfield was next to go, almost immediately after the break, lbw to Murtagh for 25 and Sam Hain 10, followed in similar fashion off Harris’ bowling with Warwickshire 122-4 from 40 overs.
Peter McKay joined Jonathan Trott and together they added 36 for the fifth wicket before Trott became the third lbw victim of the session and Dexter’s third wicket for 41.
McKay was next to go for 28, bowled by Murtagh, just after taking Warwickshire past 200 but Rikki Clarke and Keith Barker then took command, completing their century partnership and with both men passing 50 before Warwickshire went on to stumps with both men still at the wicket.
Clarke 93* from 134 balls and Barker 60* from 102 balls and their unbeaten seventh wicket partnership of 133 still intact as Warwickshire with 3 batting points secured closed the opening day on 338-6.