Warwickshire respond to Murtagh’s stand

Close, day two: Middlesex 402 v Warwickshire 178-2

Middlesex 4pts, Warwickshire 2pts

Middlesex nudged themselves over 400 runs on a rain-interrupted day at Uxbridge.

Bowlers Tim Murtagh (pictured above) and Steven Crook put on a 72-run partnership for the final wicket to extend an already impressive first innings score.

Warwickshire were strong with the bat in reply, with Ian Westwood 89 not out at stumps and Jim Troughton also on an unbeaten half-century.

But Murtagh did dispose of the threatening top-order men Varun Chopra and Ireland’s William Porterfield for meagre scores.

Ollie Rayner and Toby Roland-Jones resumed the day with Middlesex at 324-7 and it looked as though the Warwickshire attack would run through the tail end quickly in the morning.

Rayner (18) could add only two runs to the board before he clipped to Darren Ambrose to give England seamer Chris Woakes a third wicket of the innings.

And Woakes claimed Roland-Jones (17) in his next over, forcing a repeat stroke to Ambrose to make the score 330-9.

The last pair claimed another vital batting point, bringing up the 350 against the odds, with overcast conditions favouring the likelihood of that imminent final wicket.

And despite the first downpour interrupting their unlikely progress, Murtagh hit several sweetly struck boundaries as he and Crook made it to 402 before tea.

Murtagh took the momentum into his first spell with the ball, trapping Chopra for three runs in the fifth over and then forcing Porterfield (12) to clip to Neil Dexter in the 13th.

But another slight rain delay after tea could not deter Westwood and Troughton putting on an 152-run stand until close for the visitors.

See also: Middlesex are boosted by Malan century

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