County cricket: Middlesex beat Warwickshire in nailbiting finish

Warwickshire 334 & 233
Middlesex 334 & 234-9: Compton 49, Higgins 45; Barker 2-39
Warwickshire (6 pts) lost to Middlesex (22 pts) by one wicket

Middlesex secured a crucial County Championship win over Warwickshire by one wicket amid the highest tension at sultry Edgbaston.

A career-best 45 from 22-year-old Ryan Higgins, playing only his third first-class match, saw his side most of the way to a target of 234.

He was eighth man out with 24 still needed but last-wicket pair Tom Helm and Tim Murtagh found the seven runs required to see their side home to a victory which puts precious space between them and bottom-of-the-table Warwickshire.

After Middlesex began the day on 36-2, they mustered a series of useful partnerships which together got an awkward job done, but only just. No visiting batsman reached 50 but most got to double figures.

Overnight pair Nick Compton (49) and Dawid Malan (32) took the score to 54 before the latter fell lbw to a Keith Barker in-ducker.

Compton (pictured), who added 43 with John Simpson (40), was close to a half century when he charged and missed at Jeetan Patel and was slickly stumped by Tim Ambrose.

Simpson and Higgins importantly saw their side past lunch and took their alliance to 48 before the wicket-keeper inside-edged Rikki Clarke on to pad and the ball looped to William Porterfield at gully.

At 170-6, Middlesex still needed another 64 – Higgins and James Harris found 23 of them, and Ollie Rayner and Tom Helm collected 17 but regular wickets kept Warwickshire’s hopes alive.

When Rayner fell lbw to Rankin, last pair Helm and Murtagh were left with seven to get and with nails being bitten, they did so.

Murtagh clubbed Rankin through the covers for a winning three before the teams left to a big ovation from spectators who had witnessed a wonderful final day’s play.