Rain the winner at Edgbaston

Lv County Championship

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Warwickshire and Middlesex had to settle on a battle for bonus points as their rain-affected LV= County Championship match meandered to a tame draw.

The match was effectively over as a contest once Warwickshire avoided the follow-on by reaching 279 when Tom Milnes clipped England paceman Steven Finn for a leg-side four during the 12 minutes of play that were possible before lunch.

The weather improved briefly in the afternoon, which allowed Tim Murtagh to complete his second five-wicket haul of the season and help Middlesex, who go top of Division One, secure a second bowling point.

Rikki Clarke's aggressive unbeaten 66 helped Warwickshire reach 374 for eight and collect two more batting points, before further precipitation forced a premature end.

Although Middlesex took 10 points from a rain-ruined game, Warwickshire will be satisfied with their eight-point haul having been on the back foot for most of the match with a depleted attack.

Warwickshire secured their fourth batting point in the nick of time, when Boyd Rankin squirted Murtagh wide of second slip at a catchable height to claim four in the 110th over.

The hosts decided to bat on, which gave Middlesex the chance to take another wicket and collect a third bowling point but Rankin safely saw out the over and went on to share in an unbroken ninth-wicket stand of 36.

Clarke, who pulled Finn's second ball of the day for six to the short Rea Bank boundary, reached his half-century from 66 balls and then drove Ollie Rayner for two off-side boundaries.

Drizzle prevented any play before 12:30pm and soon drove the players back to the pavilion after Clarke and Milnes had avoided the follow-on. They accelerated after lunch, adding 55 in 13 overs for the sixth wicket.

Milnes played confidently for 24 but shovelled Murtagh to Corey Collymore at long-leg, handing Middlesex an extra bowling point.

Jeetan Patel soon followed, bowled off stump playing back to the impressive Murtagh, and Tom Allin went for a golden duck on his first-class debut when he edged a loose drive to Dawid Malan at first slip off Murtagh, who finished with 5-85.

However, Rankin gave Clarke sensible support in what was, in effect, Warwickshire's last pairing with Laurie Evans unable to resume his innings having suffered a broken left hand batting against Finn on Friday.

A heavy shower brought an early tea and another downpour led to the match being abandoned by umpires Rob Bailey and Steve Gale at 3:45pm.

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