Dexter nears end to fifty drought

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Middlesex captain Neil Dexter will hope to complete his maiden half-century of the LV= County Championship season tomorrow at Uxbridge where the hosts go into the final day of a turgid game on 104 for three in their second innings, 182 in front.

Dexter has struggled for runs during a season when he gave up the captaincy in a bid to rediscover his batting form.

Division One title-chasers Warwickshire showed little or no enterprise in the opening two sessions of day three, scoring only 12 boundaries in the final 61.5 overs of their second innings when they limped to 324 all out for a first-innings deficit of 78.

In stark comparison, Middlesex bashed nine fours in as many overs as the start of their reply before the loss of three quick wickets forced them to go steady in the final hour.

Neil Dexter

Neil Dexter hit a steady 45 not out as Middlesex were generally more positive than Warwickshire, who earlier crawled to 324 all out at Uxbridge

On a slow pitch of variable bounce, batsmen on both sides struggled at times for fluency - especially so against the new ball.

Having made 95 first time, Joe Denly aimed to drive a full, swinging ball from Darren Maddy only to edge to the wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose and go for 16.

Middlesex skipper and Denly’s opening partner Chris Rogers reached only 13 when he was snared leg before by Chris Wright. Then, fresh from a century on the first day of the game, Dawid Malan succumbed to the spin of Jeetan Patel to leave the hosts wobbling somewhat on 93 for three.

Eoin Morgan, in possibly his last appearance of the season for Middlesex, and Dexter dug in to see their side through to stumps.

Starting this game level on points with leaders Nottinghamshire, Warwickshire might have forced the pace when they resumed on their overnight score of 178 for two.

With Ian Westwood and Jim Troughton well ensconced in a third-wicket stand that had already added more than 100, the visitors were seemingly well placed to push on.

However, once Troughton fell without addition to his overnight 60 and Westwood soon after completing his 317-minute century, the match simply dissolved into a war of attrition.

Tim Murtagh, the pick of the bowlers on display here, finished with 4-77 and Dexter, who bowled a full length and allowed the ball to swing, also chipped in with 2-16.

Warwickshire finally succumbed just before tea, but by then many supporters had already turned to the pavilion television and the Olympics for some much-needed entertainment.

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