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August 1, 2012
Middlesex 324 for 7 (Malan 106, Denly 95, Wright 3-66) v Warwickshire
Division One leaders Warwickshire hit back late in the day to dislodge Middlesex centurion Dawid Malan and take a further four wickets for five runs, after a strong start by the hosts.
At 232 for 2, having been invited to bat first, Middlesex appeared set fair for a huge total as the visiting seam attack struggled to find a telling line and length in the opening half of the day. However, Chris Woakes and Chris Wright came up with the goods with the second new ball and ultimately Middlesex were relieved to pass 300 just before stumps for a third batting bonus point.
Although he had wanted to bowl first, home captain Chris Rogers found himself batting having lost the toss. Yet he appeared in little or no trouble in adding 41 for the first wicket until an ill-advised push drive against Wright took the edge to give Tim Ambrose the first of three catches for the day.
Joe Denly then teamed up with his former Kent colleague Neil Dexter to add a further 56 for the second wicket in only 15 overs as the Warwickshire attack constantly offered too much width. Dexter fell leg-before three minutes before lunch when off balance and working to leg against Rikki Clarke, leaving Denly and Malan to mount the middle-session fight back.
Denly in particular was happy to drop anchor and grind out his runs and, after posting a 95-ball 50, he pushed back the next 44 balls without scoring - 37 of them against Darren Maddy, who sent down five successive maidens.
Denly finally broke the stranglehold with a top-edged pull shot against Rankin that flew over the keeper's head for a six to get the scoreboard ticking once more. He looked set for his third century of the summer but, when five short, he played back to a Maddy in-ducker to fall lbw and end a third-wicket stand worth 135 with Malan.
Malan marched on to post his maiden century of the summer - and his first in the Championship for 11 months - with an exquisite late drive through backward point against Wright, for the 14th boundary of his stay. Wright had his revenge in his next over, however, plucking out Malan's off stump for 106 as the left-hander shouldered arms to an inswinger.
The dismissal sparked a dramatic four-wicket collapse that ultimately left honours even going into the second day. John Simpson gloved an attempted hook to the keeper against Woakes, who then got one to lift against Gareth Berg, who could only fence to second slip. Wright then bagged his third scalp of the day when Eoin Morgan wafted outside off to be caught behind.
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