Middlesex go down fighting
Warwickshire 608 for 7 dec (Knight 303*) beat Middlesex 163 and 437 (Hutton 126) by an innings and eight runs
Survival was the name of the game for Middlesex at Lord's today, but, despite a better effort from the middle order and tail second time round, their rearguard was in vain as Warwickshire kept their place on the top of Division One.
Resuming the day on 216 for 2, Middlesex's hopes rested on the young shoulders of Ben Hutton, but once he fell early, the writing was on the wall. Ed Joyce and Paul Weekes held Warwickshire up with a stubborn 96-run stand, but Middlesex eventually went down by an innings and eight runs.
Warwickshire had their former England star, Nick Knight, to thank after his career-best 303 not out - a knockout blow from which Middlesex never recovered. But how Middlesex must have wished they had their current England star - Andrew Strauss - leading them in battle. While he was making more waves at Headingley against the New Zealanders, his replacement, Owais Shah, could only watch from the Lord's balcony as his side slipped to defeat.
Middlesex lost yesterday's hero Hutton early on, trapped lbw by Mark Wagh for a five-and-a-half-hour 126. Weekes and Joyce dug in and made Warwickshire wait, but they both fell in quick succession to Dougie Brown, to leave Middlesex on 340 for 5, still 105 short of making Warwickshire bat again. And that was pretty much that.
Naqqash Tahir had Jamie Dalrymple caught by Brad Hogg for a run-a-ball 17, then Ian Bell dismissed Lance Klusener lbw for the second time in the match for 12. The tail showed some fighting spirit, with Chris Peploe sticking around for 75 balls to finish on a gutsy 19 not out. But with Dewald Pretorius taking wickets regularly at the other end, Peploe's efforts were always going to be in vain.
Pretorius had David Nash caught by Ian Clifford, the substitute wicketkeeper, who took the to field after Tony Frost damaged a finger, for 32. He then removed Paul Hutchison for a 19-ball duck, and saved the best for last: dismissing his fellow South African Nantie Hayward, caught by Neil Carter for 7, to wrap up the innings - and the win to keep them at the top of Division One.