County Championship: Moeen in runs as Worcs forge reply

Moeen Ali
Moeen Ali's last first-class half century was for England in the first Test against New Zealand at Lord's in May
LV= County Championship Division One, Uxbridge (close, day two)
Middlesex 309: Franklin 135, Burns 51, Shantry 4-66, Leach 4-81
Worcestershire 195-3: Fell 75 no, Moeen Ali 54, Gidman 30 no
Worcestershire trail Middx by 114 with seven first-innings wickets intact.
Middlesex 4 pts, Worcestershire 3 pts
Match scorecard

England's Moeen Ali built on Friday's blistering match-winning Twenty20 half-century for Worcestershire with a more measured effort to help his team stay in touch against Middlesex at Uxbridge.

After a morning session lost to rain, Middlesex quickly lost their last three wickets, all to Joe Leach (4-81), as the hosts were bowled out for 309.

But Moeen (54) found some first-class form in time for next month's Ashes.

Tom Fell (75 no) also performed well as Worcestershire closed on 195-3.

He was well supported in an unbroken 83-run partnership with Alex Gidman (30 no), who made his best Championship score since early May on his 34th birthday.

A draw on the cards at Uxbridge?
There have not been any draws in the last seven County Championship clashes between Middlesex (four wins) and Worcestershire (three wins).

But, on a typically slow Uxbridge track, Worcestershire were also indebted to the obdurate efforts of visiting skipper Daryl Mitchell, who batted almost two hours for his 18, hitting just three fours.

Moeen, although comparatively subdued by his own standards, hit 10 boundaries before lobbing a slower delivery from Middlesex centurion James Franklin to mid-off.

It was much livelier earlier in the day when Leach took three wickets for nine runs in 11 balls to wrap up the Middlesex first innings inside half an hour, taking him to 35 Championship wickets for the season.

Worcestershire then quickly lost opener Richard Oliver, adjudged caught at the wicket off James Harris in the eighth over. But Moeen, who put on 44 with Mitchell, then a further 60 with Fell, helped Worcestershire dig in.

By the close, Fell and Gidman had manoeuvred their team to within 114 of the Middlesex total, but they have only 39 overs left in which to collect any batting bonus points - and the new ball is due in nine overs' time.

Worcestershire batsman Tom Fell told BBC Hereford & Worcester:

"There is a little bit in the pitch for the bowlers and it's a bit two-paced, but once you do get in it's quite nice to bat on.

"It was good to bat with both Moeen Ali and with Alex Gidman for a while and to get us into a decent position.

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