Trott and Bell tune up

Lv County Championship

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Watch highlights of day three between Warwickshire and Middlesex at Edgbaston

Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell warmed up for next week’s first Investec Test against New Zealand with fluent half-centuries as Warwickshire edged towards safety on the third day of their LV= County Championship match against Middlesex at Edgbaston.

Both were in form in last week’s draw with Sussex at The BrightonandHoveJobs.com County Gound and again looked in fine touch on another good pitch after Middlesex declared on their overnight 428 for five.

Trott followed his 96 against Sussex with 65, his first championship half-century at Edgbaston in three years, while Bell, who made 56 last time out, also timed the ball sweetly in his 105-ball 62.

As Warwickshire closed on 267 for five, only 12 away from saving the follow-on, this may prove to be the last chance Trott and Bell have to bat before next Thursday’s Lord’s Test.

Trott was dropped by Ollie Rayner at second slip on five off Tim Murtagh but scored strongly square of the wicket to reach his half-century from 97 balls with nine fours. He added another boundary but then edged Murtagh to first slip where Dawid Malan held the catch.

Bell played some glorious straight drives early in his innings, although Tim Ambrose was the main aggressor in a fourth wicket stand of 96 in 27 overs.

The former reached 50 from 90 balls with six fours and found the fence twice more before he was lbw trying to work former team-mate Corey Collymore off his legs. Ambrose fell in similar fashion for 55 just before the close.

Bell came to the crease after Laurie Evans, who was promoted to open in the absence of England Lions batsman Varun Chopra, was forced to retire hurt on 59 after he had his left hand broken by a lifter from Steven Finn.

Evans, who struck six fours in a confident 50, received treatment in the middle and tried to bat on for two more overs before deciding to leave the field.

He was taken to hospital where x-rays revealed a fracture to his fifth metacarpal. He will play no further part in this match and see a specialist next week when the full extent of the injury will be known.

Finn, another candidate for the Test squad, was unable to pick up a wicket and twice knocked the bails off the stumps at the bowler’s end.

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