County Championship: Middx top after draw with Warwickshire

Toby Roland-Jones troubled all the Warwickshire top order batsmen at Lord's
Middlesex paceman Toby Roland-Jones troubled all the Warwickshire top order batsmen at Lord's
LV= County Championship Division One, Lord's (day four)
Warwickshire 342 and 187: Chopra 73, Roland-Jones 4-51, Harris 3-49
Middlesex 260 and 152-5: Burns 72
Match Drawn
Warwickshire 11 pts, Middlesex 10 pts
Match scorecard

Middlesex went top of Division One at Lord's after drawing with Warwickshire, having failed to reach a victory target of 270 to win in a minimum of 54 overs.

The Bears, 58-2 overnight, were bowled out for 187 after a morning collapse that, despite Varun Chopra's 73, saw them lose five wickets for 25 runs.

Toby Roland-Jones (4-51) and James Harris (3-49) did the main damage.

But, although Joe Burns made 72, the loss of three quick wickets ended any Middlesex hopes of victory on 152-5.

Harris hits the heights
Middlesex fast bowler James Harris is now the leading wicket-taker in the country, his three second-innings scalps against the Bears taking him to 35 for the season.

Earlier in the morning, Warwickshire, who now stand third in the table, had appeared to be moving comfortably into a position from where they might declare to set Middlesex a fourth innings target.

But Jonathan Trott was run out for 29 by a direct hit from Sam Robson, after being rightly sent back by Chopra, who went on to add a further 42 runs to his overnight 31.

Chopra's own departure then triggered the loss of four wickets for just two runs in the space of 19 balls, Harris and Roland-Jones claiming a brace apiece.

From 127-7, and a lead of only 207, Jeetan Patel and Tim Ambrose stopped the rot with an ultimately key eighth-wicket stand of 43.

Middlesex's plan was to build steadily, without losing wickets, to give themselves the platform for a last 20-over thrash. But the loss of Robson, Nick Compton (second ball) and Eoin Morgan in short order ended that theory.

And the only surprise was that it took until 18:30 BST, four overs before the scheduled close, for the two teams to shake hands, with Middlesex still 118 short.

Middlesex captain James Franklin told BBC Radio London:

"There would have been a great finish if we had not lost 86 overs to the weather during the four days.

"We did think about chasing down that target during the afternoon session, and both Joe Burns and Sam Robson batted extremely well to give us a good platform with their opening partnership.

"But then we lost a couple of wickets in quick succession, and unfortunately a couple more in quick succession soon after that, including myself.

"That meant we then had to play for the draw, but you could see from the way that Warwickshire stayed out there until there was only four overs left that they fancied getting into our lower order."

Warwickshire director of cricket Dougie Brown told BBC WM:

"Middlesex bowled well and it was quite a nervy day at times for us. We went into this last day knowing we had to bat well to get into a position from which we could win i.

"But virtually a whole day's cricket was lost from the match because of bad weather on previous days and that is a lot of time to take out of it and still try to get a positive result.

"I don't think we bowled as well as they did but, in the end, it was a good day's cricket between two pretty good teams. Neither of us wanted to give too much to the opponent.

"Perhaps we could have showed a bit more aggression in terms of trying to set up a result, but all the evidence of the game showed that any approach like that came at a cost because it was never an easy pitch to bat on."