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Middlesex crash back down to earth

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Middlesex lurched from the high of a record run-chase on Wednesday to being humbled in a devastating morning session from hosts Warwickshire.

Having beaten Yorkshire at Lord's four days ago, knocking off a target of 472, they slid to the opposite end of the scale at Edgbaston in Division One of the LV= County Championship.

Electing to bat after winning the toss, they were reduced to 66 for eight before lunch, so the fact they recovered to post 167 in the afternoon could be considered something of a success.

By stumps on the opening day the home side had reached 123 for four.

There was no instant indication Middlesex's decision to have first use of the wicket was misguided, as they scored at almost five an over for the first eight sets of six before Chris Wright made the breakthrough when Laurie Evans clung on to a brilliant catch at third slip to remove Sam Robson for seven. 

From 34 without loss, though, there was a catastrophic slide as eight wickets went down for 32 runs in the space of 14 overs.

Wright was the pick of the bowlers with three scalps in the session, including the key one of captain Chris Rogers - the hero of last week's stunning win after scoring an unbeaten 241.

Six of the eight to fall were caught by wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose or the slip cordon.

Only when Ollie Rayner and Toby Roland-Jones came together to stop the rot with a ninth-wicket partnership did Middlesex's innings have any degree of stability. 

The pair put on 40 either side of lunch until Wright returned to remove Roland-Jones for 25 - another caught at first slip by Varun Chopra. 

It was left to England paceman Steven Finn, Middlesex's number 11, to bring some respectability to the score as he smashed a six and five fours in an unbeaten 49-ball 37 to put on 61 with Rayner before he fell to yet another slip catch when on 31.

Wright finished with 4-56 and almost lost in the midst of all the mayhem was a maiden Warwickshire wicket for debutant Richard Jones, who finished with a respectable 2-27 from seven overs, while Oliver Hannon-Dalby's figures of 2-10 in seven were even more impressive.

Where Middlesex had trouble getting enough bat on ball, the home side's difficulties were in not hitting it at all.

Roland-Jones struck twice early on to remove Chopra and Evans and, after Ian Westwood was caught by Rayner at first slip off Neil Dexter for 19 after tea, debutant Sam Hain was also bowled by Roland-Jones for an impressive 42 as Warwickshire closed 44 runs behind.

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