Warwickshire 342 and 58-2 v Middlesex 260 at stumps
Nick Compton did his best to preserve Middlesex’s unbeaten record in this summer’s LV= County Championship by hitting a determined 74 against Warwickshire at Lord’s. Middlesex, second in Division One after three wins from five matches, were still bowled out for 260 in reply to Warwickshire’s first innings’ 342, but Compton’s three-and-a-half hour effort was invaluable on a pitch continuing to help the seamers.
In 24.2 overs’ batting in the final session, Warwickshire could then only struggle to 58 for two in their second innings – stretching their overall lead to 140 with skipper Varun Chopra on 31 not out – as Toby Roland-Jones had Ateeq Javid caught at first slip for 8 and James Harris clean bowled Jonathon Webb for 4.
Jonathan Trott kept Chopra company with 12 not out until bad light ended play four balls’ early, but Middlesex will be hopeful of being to bat it out for a draw on the final day even if Warwickshire decide to try to accelerate and set a target.
Compton was joined in stands of 70 and 69 by Eoin Morgan, who hit eight fours in a 62-ball 44, and Neil Dexter, who finished unbeaten on 47, but from 192 for four the Middlesex innings fell away after Compton was eventually caught at fine leg top-edging a hook at Boyd Rankin.
With four wickets going down for 14 runs inside 11 overs, as Middlesex slipped to 206 for eight, it took a 47-run ninth wicket stand between Dexter and Roland-Jones to reduce the size of Warwickshire’s first innings lead – with Roland-Jones swinging his bat lustily to reach 32 from 30 balls.
Resuming on 39 for one, Middlesex initially lost Sam Robson for 30 early in a morning session cut to just 70 minutes by rain and bad light, caught at first slip off Chris Wright after the opener had added just four to his overnight score.
Morgan’s first championship innings of the season was a streaky one, with an edge against Keith Barker flying through a vacant fourth slip on 4 before he was dropped off the same bowler one run later, at first slip.
But Morgan was beginning to flow when he got out, off-driving and pulling Barker for fours earlier in the same over that brought his dismissal, and Compton looked similarly distraught at his own dismissal.
Rankin, strangely kept out of the Warwickshire attack until 44 overs had been bowled, saw his third over taken for 20 runs as Compton suddenly produced a burst of scoring, but once he had removed the former England Test opener the Middlesex innings began to crumble as Jeetan Patel and Rikki Clarke shared three more wickets in quick succession.
Off spinner Patel lured John Simpson into lifting a drive to short mid wicket on 1, Clarke picked up a smartly-held low caught and bowled to remove Ollie Rayner for 3 and then the tall seamer sent back James Harris for a duck, caught at second slip. Earlier, Clarke had bowled James Franklin, also for a second-ball nought, and ended with figures of 3 for 42.
Rankin wrapped up the Middlesex innings by having Roland-Jones caught at the second attempt by Webb at deep square leg, from a top-edged pull, and then trapping Finn lbw for 1.
Middlesex 212-8 v Warwickshire 342 at tea on day 3
The sun has been finally shining at Lord’s this afternoon, after two and a half days of unremitting gloom and bad weather interruptions, but Middlesex’s batsmen are not taking advantage of it.
At tea on day three of their LV= County Championship match against Warwickshire, they were struggling at 212 for eight in reply to their opponents’ first innings of 342.
Nick Compton was the mainstay of the Middlesex innings, grinding out 74 from 140 balls with nine fours in a stay of three and a half hours.
Compton featured in stands of 70 for the third wicket with Eoin Morgan, who made 44 before holing out to long leg off Keith Barker, and 69 with Neil Dexter, still there on 28 not out after surviving a nasty blow in the box when he was doubled up by a Boyd Rankin nip-backer.
But, once Compton fell to a top-edged hook to fine leg off fast bowler Rankin, strangely held back by Warwickshire until 44 overs had been bowled, Middlesex’s innings began to crumble as Jeetan Patel and Rikki Clarke shared three more wickets in quick succession.
Off spinner Patel lured John Simpson into lifting a drive to short mid wicket on 1, Clarke picked up a smartly-held low caught and bowled to remove Ollie Rayner for 3 and then the tall seamer sent back James Harris for a duck, caught at second slip.
Resuming on 39 for one, Middlesex initially lost Sam Robson for 30 early on, caught at first slip off Chris Wright, after the opener had added just four to his overnight score.
Morgan’s innings was a streaky one, with an edge against Barker flying through a vacant fourth slip on 4 before he was dropped off the same bowler one run later, at first slip.
But Morgan was beginning to flow when he got out, off-driving and pulling Barker for fours earlier in the same over that brought his dismissal, and Compton looked similarly distraught to find a boundary fielder just when it seemed as if his adhesive qualities had steered Middlesex to calmer waters at 192 for four.
Suddenly, with the loss of five wickets for 14 runs, it was Warwickshire on top and looking to earn themselves a first innings lead of significant proportions.
Middlesex 101-2 v Warwickshire 342 at lunch on day three
Nick Compton and Eoin Morgan fought hard during a difficult morning session to keep Warwickshire’s seamers at bay as Middlesex replied to their opponents’ first innings 342 with 101 for two by lunch on day three of the LV= County Championship match at Lord’s.
Play started half-an-hour late at 11.30 following early-morning rain, and then bad light and more rain cut short the opening session at 12.40 and forced an early lunch to be taken at 1.10pm.
Morgan was on 28 not out at the interval, with Compton, who had resumed on 5, moving more sedately to an unbeaten 25 on a pitch still encouraging the quicker bowlers to exploit some inconsistent bounce.
Middlesex lost Sam Robson early on for 30, the opener adding just four runs to his overnight score before he edged Chris Wright to Varun Chopra at first slip.
Wright had been switched immediately to the Nursery End, with Rikki Clarke bowling one over to allow Keith Barker, the left-arm swing bowler, to come in from the Pavilion End and take advantage of the breeze blowing across the ground from the west.
Barker then saw Morgan edge for four through a vacant fourth slip before having England’s one-day captain, playing his first championship game of the season following his return from the Indian Premier League, dropped at first slip on 5.
Morgan, however, quickly went on the offensive, hitting a further four fours in his first 25 runs and including one fierce square cut off Barker as he and Compton added an unbroken 48.
Compton was content to concentrate on steely defence, and the former England Test opener looked by far the more secure of the two and, indeed, seemed to be relishing the tough conditions.