June 20, 2001

Bloomfield trumps Betts' effort

Pacemen Melvyn Betts and Tim Bloomfield shared the first day honours on an intriguing opening day of the clash between the Second Division's top two clubs at Edgbaston.

Betts sparked a Middlesex collapse with four wickets in eight overs after tea on his way to his second five-wicket haul for Warwickshire.

But Bloomfield then struck three times in his first four overs as Warwickshire limped to 33 for three in 12 overs before the close.

There was a little something in the pitch for everyone but both sides also made life difficult for themselves with some sloppy batting.

The only innings of substance was played by Middlesex's New Zealand batsman Stephen Fleming who stroked eight fours in a majestic 131-ball 67. But when he was unable to dig out a perfect yorker from Dougie Brown, Middlesex lost their way.

Ben Hutton, who helped Fleming add 69 in 24 overs for the fourth wicket, carved to point as soon as Betts returned at the Pavilion End and the former Durham bowler then ran through the middle and lower orders.

Middlesex needed a stubborn last wicket stand of 26 between Chad Keegan and Bloomfield to secure a second batting bonus point with Keegan making a valuable unbeaten 30 on only his second Championship appearance.

Bloomfield took off his pads and immediately had Warwickshire in trouble when he had Ian Bell taken by wicketkeeper David Nash in his opening over.

Warwickshire skipper Michael Powell turned Bloomfield to short leg and Warwickshire lurched further into trouble when nightwatchman Mohammad Sheikh nibbled Bloomfield to Paul Weekes to second slip at the end of an eventful day.