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Steady Strauss prospers in draw

Middlesex CCC

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Andrew Strauss enjoyed some valuable time in the middle ahead of England’s Investec Test series with West Indies as the LV= County Championship match between Nottinghamshire and Middlesex finished in a draw.

Middlesex were set a nominal target of 298 to win in 51 overs after lunch but, on a slow Trent Bridge wicket with some uneven bounce, a successful run-chase never looked likely.

Strauss and Sam Robson batted for 35 overs to reach 87 without loss for the visitors before both sides agreed to a draw, with the England Test skipper making 43 and Robson 39.

Earlier, Notts had declared their second innings on 174 for seven. Steven Mullaney and Michael Lumb compiled 73 and 55 respectively, while Middlesex off-spinner Ollie Rayner added 4-67 to his first-innings 143 not out.

Sam Robson & Andrew Strauss

England Test captain Andrew Strauss, right, stepped up his preparations for the Investec series with West Indies by hitting 43 not out

At the start of the day a positive result was a distinct possibility with Notts 145 ahead on 22 for three in their second innings.

The position of the hosts immediately worsened as Steven Finn had Riki Wessels plumb lbw with the first delivery of the day, but Lumb and Mullaney put on 110 for the fifth wicket to settle any nerves.

By lunch Notts were 124 for four with both batsmen passing 50 just before the interval - Mullaney in 97 balls with six boundaries, Lumb in 104 deliveries, having hit eight fours.

Having stretched the lead to 247, Notts tried to increase the run-rate in the afternoon session to reach a suitable declaration target.

Rayner picked up two more wickets as a result of the attacking intent, Lumb mis-cuing a sweep to Finn at fine-leg and Mullaney slicing a drive to deep cover.

In between, Notts captain Chris Read played on to Finn, who was quick and hostile throughout the innings en route to 3-47.

Stuart Broad opened the bowling in Middlesex’s second innings but offered little, aside from one delivery that found Strauss’ outside edge on 26, only for Read to drop his diving attempt to take the catch in front of first slip.

There were very few alarms apart from that chance, with Graeme Swann bowling accurately but without threat from both the Pavilion and Radcliffe Road Ends.

Strauss batted for 132 minutes and finished with seven fours from 113 balls, while Robson hit four boundaries in facing 99 balls.

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