As early as day two of the CricInfo Championship, Division Two clash between Middlesex and Warwickshire at Lord's, a stalemate has been achieved.
History suggests a draw: as Middlesex haven't won at Lord's against The Bears since 1983. Warwickshire last beat Middlesex in 1992. Last year's game was a typical high scoring draw.
Middlesex reached an epic 502-7 declared at tea, with Paul Weekes (107) and David Nash (103*) completing centuries today.
Warwickshire replied with 158-2. Mark Wagh, in his 50th championship appearance stroking an unbeaten 82 and Ian Bell, in his ninth championship game, making an unbeaten 65.
With depleted attacks and a flat pitch, early breakthroughs were essential. Warwickshire didn't take a wicket until mid afternoon, after Weekes and Nash had added a record between the counties of 189 for the sixth wicket. This surpassed the record of Mark Ramprakash and Keith Brown, who added 184 at Lord's in 1996.
Today was just the second time that four players had made centuries in an innings at HQ following Middlesex's 1920 quartet of P.F Warner, H.W Lee, J.W Hearne and N.E Haig.
Stephen Fleming and Ed Joyce made tons during another record Middlesex v Warwickshire stand yesterday.
Warwickshire's debutant, Jamie Spires, 21, who wasn't required to bowl today, commented: "If you didn't bowl off stump, any error in length is punished."
This partly explains why just five wickets fell for 322 runs in 88 overs today. Middlesex's declaration brought relief for Warwickshire. But just as the home team had been 33-3 early yesterday, Warwickshire began badly to be 6-2 after just nine balls.
Fraser straightened one to trap Mike Powell lbw, then Tim Bloomfield bowled Nick Knight for a duck, on the back foot as the ball came in down the slope.
But the contrasting styles of Wagh and Bell were then illustrated, particularly in two overs from Middlesex medium pacer Simon Cook. In the first, Wagh's graceful straight drive brought up as 45-ball 50 containing nine fours. In the next the more compact Bell pulled two sixes into the nearby Grandstand to bring up the team's 100 in just 132 balls.
Yet another 1920's stand between the counties was threatened as 19-year-old Bell, and 24-year-old Wagh passed 150 for the third wicket, three overs from the close.
Middlesex vs Warwickshire
CricInfo Championship Division Two
England Domestic Season