Bears draw the positives
Downpours in the morning rule out any hope of a positive result
Last Updated: 04/08/12 5:56pm
Division One leaders Warwickshire had to settle for a draw against Middlesex as rain was the winner on the final day at Uxbridge.
The LV= County Championship match was intriguingly poised with all three results possible going into the final day as Middlesex were set to resume on 104-3, meaning an overall lead of 182 ahead.
However torrential downpours washed out the morning session, leaving the two teams to play out time.
Middlesex took their second-innings total on to 181-6 before declaring at tea, former skipper Neil Dexter finishing up unbeaten on 84 from 166 deliveries.
Chris Wright claimed 3-68, including dismissing Eoin Morgan for the second time in the match, for Warwickshire, who were left to chase an implausible 260 from 40 overs.
They instead reached 78-1, with Varun Chopra on 38 not out, when the sides shook hands to bring about an early finish to take away eight points apiece.
Middlesex reached 104-3 in their second innings, a lead of 182, at stumps on day three against Warwickshire at Uxbridge.
Number three Neil Dexter's 45 not out ensured the home side were able to build on the earlier good work of their bowlers.
Seamer Tim Murtagh finished with 4-77 as Warwickshire, on 178-2 overnight, were bowled out for 324 in their first innings.
Warwickshire opener Ian Westwood turned his overnight 89 into a first century of the season, and 11th of his first-class career, before being one of Murtagh's victims.
With a first-innings lead of 78 in the bag, Dexter ensured Middlesex were able to build that advantage during the final 34 overs of the day.
After Joe Denly (16) had edged behind in Chris Wright's new-ball spell, Dexter put on stands worth 27 and 42 with Chris Rogers (13) and Dawid Malan (15) respectively.
Middlesex were left to rue two missed catches as Warwickshire continued to grind their way back into the match in Uxbridge.
The LV= County Championship Division One title challengers reached 178-2 on the second day, thanks largely to those spurned opportunities.
Left-handed third-wicket partners Ian Westwood and Jim Troughton both received a life during an unbroken stand worth 152 that helped the visitors cut the first-innings deficit to 224.
Westwood will resume on Friday needing just 11 runs for his century while Bears captain Troughton was unbeaten on 60.
In their pursuit of the Middlesex first innings total of 402, Warwickshire lost Varun Chopra and Will Porterfield cheaply to bring Westwood and Troughton together at 2.30pm to bat together for the remainder of the day.
Tim Murtagh, on his 31st birthday, made good use of the new ball by snaring Chopra leg before then getting one to lift on Porterfield, who steered it to short midwicket to see Neil Dexter pull off a fine catch.
However the third wicket pair fought back from 22-2, though Ollie Rayner dropped Troughton off Murtagh and the same player also grassed a more difficult chance from diminutive left-hander Westwood.
Murtagh (30) and Steven Crook (36) had earlier added 72 for the final wicket as the hosts tagged on 78 to their overnight score to end 402 all out, Tim Ambrose catching five and Chris Woakes taking 4-84 .
Division One leaders Warwickshire produced a late fightback with the ball to spoil an otherwise excellent opening day for Middlesex at Uxbridge.
Dawid Malan struck a century and Joe Denly 95 as the hosts, who had been put into bat by Bears skipper Jim Troughton, at one stage reached 232-2.
However they suffered a collapse against the second new ball in the final session, losing four wickets for the addition of just five runs to reach stumps on 324-7, meaning they had at least picked up three bonus points.
After the departures of Chris Rogers (16) and Neil Dexter (26), Denly and Malan combined to put on a third-wicket stand worth 135.
Former Kent opener Denly looked set for his third century of the summer until he paid a dear price for playing back to Darren Maddy, who had at one stage sent down five maidens on the trot in the afternoon.
Malan, however, made sure he reached his milestone, though Chris Wright ended his knock at 106 when he flattened the left-hander's off stump.
His departure opened the door for Warwickshire, with Chris Woakes removing John Simpson and Gareth Berg in successive deliveries. Eoin Morgan also fell before the close, becoming Wright's third victim of the day.