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LV= County Championship: Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell hit half-centuries

Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell: Struck fluent half-centuries

Tim Murtagh: Took the prized wicket of Trott

Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell helped Warwickshire edge towards safety on the third day of their LV= County Championship match against Middlesex.

The England pair struck fluent half-centuries to help the Bears back into the match at Edgbaston as they warmed up for next week's first Test against New Zealand at Lord's.

After visitors Middlesex had declared on their overnight 428-5, the duo looked in good touch on a flat pitch with Trott scoring 65 with his first championship 50 at Edgbaston in three years, while Bell also timed the ball sweetly in his 105-ball 62.

The hosts closed on 267-5, only 12 away from saving the follow-on, but it maybe the last time Trott and Bell play for Warwickshire this season because of England's busy international schedule.

Trott was dropped by Ollie Rayner at second slip on five off Tim Murtagh before reaching his half century from 97 balls with nine fours.

He added another boundary but then edged Murtagh to first slip where Dawid Malan held the catch.

Bell played some glorious straight drives early in his innings but Tim Ambrose was the main aggressor in a fourth-wicket stand of 96 in 27 overs.

Bell reached 50 from 90 balls with six fours and added two more boundaries before he was leg-before trying to work former team-mate Corey Collymore off his legs. Ambrose fell in similar fashion for 55 just before the close.

Bell came to the crease after Laurie Evans, who was promoted to open in the absence of England Lions batsman Varun Chopra, was forced to retire hurt on 59 after he had his left hand broken by a lifter from Steven Finn.

He was taken to hospital where x-rays revealed the fracture. He will play no further part in this match and will see a specialist next week when the full extent of the injury will be known.