Final-day run chase for Middlesex
PUBLISHED: 07:47 06 July 2017
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Defending champions need another 198 for victory
A thrilling finish is in prospect at Edgbaston where Middlesex will resume on the final morning of their crucial Specsavers County Championship tussle with Warwickshire on 36-2, needing another 198 to win.
After both teams totalled 334 in their first innings, the third day saw Jonathan Trott, captaining Warwickshire with Ian Bell sidelined by a sore elbow, prop up his side’s second innings with 99 (199 balls, six fours and a six).
Trott defied the visiting attack on a pitch offering some variable bounce, with the Middlesex bowlers performing admirably to compensate for the absence of Steve Finn and Toby Roland-Jones.
Tom Helm led the way with his maiden five-wicket haul, bowling with pace and aggression to take the first two wickets and the last three to end with 5-59.
And victory would be a huge boost to either side in their survival battle, with the match intriguingly poised going into the final day with all results still possible.
After Middlesex resumed on 302-6, they added only another 32 as Steve Eskinazi’s career-best 179 (243 balls, 24 fours, three sixes) was ended by Keith Barker’s first ball of the morning which knocked out off stump.
Ollie Rayner played on to Barker before Rikki Clarke had Helm caught by Andy Umeed at first slip and Tim Murtagh caught behind.
Warwickshire’s second innings was quickly damaged by Helm whose excellent new-ball spell accounted for William Porterfield, caught at second slip, and Andy Umeed, trapped lbw.
After Trott and Sam Hain (37, 62 balls, four fours) added 63, Middlesex struck twice again when Hain edged Ryan Higgins to second slip and Matt Lamb nicked James Harris behind.
That was 85-4, but Trott and Ambrose (44, 61 balls, three fours) knuckled down to add 94 in 23.3 overs before Ambrose fell lbw to Dawid Malan in the last over before tea.
Murtagh removed Clarke with a ball which exploded off a length and looped off the bat to gully while Barker clipped Malan to mid-wicket and then Helm returned to wrap up the tail with three wickets.
Trott pulled a short ball straight to Nick Compton at mid-wicket, before Jeetan Patel and George Panayi also fell, all in the space of eight balls.
In 13 overs before the close, Middlesex lurched to 1-2 after Sam Robson fell lbw to Clarke, completing a pair, and Eskinazi edged Barker to Ambrose, but Malan and Compton saw it calmly through to the close.