County Championship: Jeetan Patel takes five as Middx struggle
|LV= County Championship Division One, Edgbaston (close, day two)|
|Middlesex 207: Dexter 53, Stirling 41, Patel 5-59|
|Warwickshire trail by 186 after no play possible on the opening day|
Jeetan Patel claimed his best bowling figures of the season for Warwickshire at Edgbaston as County Championship title outsiders Middlesex's surprise decision to bat backfired.
After a first day entirely lost to rain, Patel took 5-59 on day two as the visitors were bowled out for 207.
Neil Dexter top-scored with 53 before Patel had him caught by Varun Chopra.
The Bears had time for 10 overs before the close, reaching 21-1 for the loss of Ian Westwood on a curtailed day.
Middlesex began the game in second place, 27 points ahead of Warwickshire, but already their hopes of a win to keep alive their interest in the title race look forlorn.
The visitors began the game 30 points adrift of the leaders, reigning champions Yorkshire, and if the Tykes take 18 points more than Middlesex in this round of matches they would will have one hand on the trophy even before the two teams meet at Lord's next week.
|Not at their best at Edgbaston|
|Middlesex are seeking their first Championship win at Edgbaston since 2001, when Angus Fraser, now their managing director of cricket, captained them to a 129-run victory.|
Middlesex soon hit trouble against a swinging ball used impressively by a Bears seam unit led by Keith Barker, despite 41 by opener Paul Stirling.
Resuming after lunch on 82-4, Middlesex then lost captain James Franklin, bowled by fellow Kiwi Patel, before Barker returned to trap John Simpson leg before wicket.
Patel took advantage of a previously used pitch to reach 45 Championship wickets in 2015, moving level with Rikki Clarke and one ahead of Boyd Rankin as three Warwickshire bowlers close in on 50 for the season.
The Bears are looking for a positive end to the season after an awful August which brought two resounding Championship defeats, an early One-Day Cup exit and last Saturday's T20 Blast semi-final implosion on home soil.
Bears spinner Jeetan Patel told BBC WM:
"After losing day one to the weather we needed to go out there and assert some pressure and try to get 10 wickets then hopefully bat tomorrow and set up a game.
"When you lose a day early in a match it can be hard to force a result, but we have done everything we can so far.
"We have been a bit poor in our last two Championship games so we wanted to get back to the way we played in that Somerset game at Edgbaston where we bowled fuller and straighter and swung the ball and took wickets. The boys did really well on a pretty docile wicket with not much pace."
Middlesex all-rounder Neil Dexter:
"It was tough going for batsmen. We knew it was a used wicket that T20 Finals Day was played on and it looked really dry and we thought the new ball would be the easier time to bat.
"The guys played some great shots up front to get us off to a great start, but then Jeetan Patel came on and it became quite hard to score runs on.
"Patel is a class act and for me it was a case of trying to keep out the good balls and wait for the one where he tries to attack, because he is an attacking bowler and gave me a few that I could get away."