CricInfo Championship: Worcestershire v Middlesex at Worcester, 12-15 Sep 2001|
Middlesex 2nd innings:
Worcestershire 1st innings:
MIDDLESEX MAKE FINAL PUSH FOR PROMOTIONMiddlesex made one last effort to get back into the promotion shake-up with a headlong charge to wipe out Worcestershire’s first innings advantage of 85.
Andrew Strauss and Robin Weston raced to 66 by the 10th over, when Weston was stumped off Matt Rawnsley, and the scoring rate held at five-an-over as they reached 152 for 2. Strauss completed his second half-century of the match in establishing a modest lead of 87
With Warwickshire taking maximum bonus points at Derby, Middlesex can only try to set up some kind of target for Worcestershire on the last day - and then hope for the best.
They were forced into this position by the home side’s determination not to waste a career-best 168 from opener Anurag Singh. The former Cambridge University captain resumed on 103 and passed 1,000 runs in a season for the first time before he was caught behind off Chad Keegan.
There was just a glimmer of hope for Middlesex when Worcestershire’s newly-installed player of the year, Andy Bichel, sliced Keegan’s next ball to cover point, but teenager Kadeer Ali settled into a stand of 52 with Steve Rhodes.
Kadeer, reaching double figures for the first time in 11 Championship innings, was caught at cover for 38 as Simon Cook and Tim Bloomfield shared the last four wickets but with more resistance from Matt Rawnsley and Chris Liptrot.
Middlesex had a mixed morning. Bloomfield made a breakthrough by dismissing Graeme Hick and Vikram Solanki in three balls, but David Leatherdale joined the imperious Singh in a partnership of 83 in 19 overs.
They picked up only two bowling points as Worcestershire ran up a first innings lead of 85 before their dismissal for 434.
Anurag Singh was their trail-blazer with a career-best 168 which took him beyond 1,000 runs in a season for the first time.
The former Warwickshire opener was out straight after lunch, caught behind by David Nash, as Chad Keegan revived Middlesex hopes with two wickets in successive balls.
Simon Cook and Tim Bloomfield eventually chipped through the lower order, but teenager Kadeer Ali held them up with 38 - his first double-figure score in 11 Championship innings - until he was caught at cover off Cook.
Middlesex enjoyed brief success in the morning when Bloomfield dismissed Graeme Hick and Vikram Solanki in three balls, but David Leatherdale put on 83 with Singh before giving a return catch to Paul Weekes.
Buoyant after completing a maiden century with 103 overnight, the 26-year-old opener reached 1,000 runs in a season for the first time and then surpassed his previous career-best of 157 for Cambridge University.
Singh reached an unbeaten 165 by lunch when Worcestershire were 317 for 4, only 32 short of Middlesex’s first innings total of 349.
The only crumb of comfort for the southern county came when Tim Bloomfield clinched a first bowling point with two wickets in three balls in the 13th over of the day.
Graeme Hick, looking full of menace with a brisk 31, was clearly lbw and Vikram Solanki’s disappointing run of form continued with an inside edge on to his leg stump.
But Singh cruised to 150 from 217 balls and shared in a stand of 83 before David Leatherdale (33) was caught and bowled by Paul Weekes.
Date-stamped : 14 Sep2001 - 22:48