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Westwood and Troughton lead Warks recovery

Warwickshire

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Middlesex were left to rue two dropped catches at Uxbridge where LV= County Championship leaders Warwickshire continued to grind their way back into the match by reaching 178 for two at stumps.

Left-handed third-wicket partners Ian Westwood and Jim Troughton both received a life during an unbroken stand worth 152 that helped the visitors cut Middlesex’s first- innings lead to 224 at the midway point of the game.

In their pursuit of the Middlesex first-innings total of 402, Warwickshire lost Varun Chopra and Will Poterfield early on. That brought Westwood and Troughton together just after lunch, and they managed to bat out the remainder of the day.

Tim Murtagh made good use of the new ball by snaring Chopra leg before then getting one to lift on Porterfield, who was superbly caught at short midwicket by a diving Neil Dexter.

Ian Westwood

Ian Westwood, pictured, finished unbeaten on 89 and shared an unbroken third-wicket stand of 152 with Jim Troughton as Warwickshire fought back

It was to prove the final taste of success for Middlesex as Warwickshire set out their stall to bat for the rest of the day.

Troughton should have gone with his score on two when he fenced at a Murtagh delivery, only for Ollie Rayner to down a regulation chance at second slip.

The Warwickshire captain went on to post a 129-ball half-century with seven fours and closed unbeaten on 60.

Westwood reached his fifty from one more ball, but received a blow to the left temple on 55 when a Toby Roland-Jones delivery squeezed between helmet peak and grille.

He too received a let off soon after when Rayner, diving to his left at backward square-leg, grassed a difficult opportunity, allowing Westwood to march past his season-best score of 70.

The day began with Middlesex batting through to the cusp of the lunch break in order to add 78 to their overnight score for their last three wickets.

Both Ollie Rayner and Toby Roland-Jones fell quickly, caught behind the wicket off Chris Woakes to give Tim Ambrose five dismissals and the all-rounder final figures of 4-84.

It was then that Murtagh, who had been demoted to bat at number 11 for the first time in his career, joined forces with Steven Crook to add 72 for the final wicket.

Crook took one chance too many and holed out to midwicket to leave Chris Wright with worthy figures of 4-92.

The Middlesex duo were just a run short of equalling the Middlesex 10th-wicket record against Warwickshire - set by Walter Robins and Jack Durston at Edgbaston in 1925 - but at least Murtagh had enjoyed his birthday bash for an unbeaten 36.

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