CricInfo Championship: Warwickshire v Middlesex at Birmingham, 20-23 Jun 2001
John Sheldon

Warwickshire 2nd innings: Lunch - Day 4, Tea - Day 4, Stumps - Day 4,
Live Reports from previous days


COMPREHENSIVE WIN FOR MIDDLESEX

Middlesex cemented their position as promotion pacemakers in the CricInfo County Championship with a resounding win against one of their nearest challengers.

Set 382 for an unlikely victory, Warwickshire were given a chance by a dashing 77 from Mark Wagh but folded to their first defeat of the season after a grim afternoon session.

From 170 for 4, when Wagh was tempted in flight by a ball from Phil Tufnell, they were dismissed for 252 and comprehensively beaten by 129 runs.

Middlesex’s old hands shaped their third win in eight games in Division Two. Angus Fraser made the first breakthrough by dismissing Ian Bell with the last ball on Friday and Michael Powell with his eighth on the final morning.

Then Middlesex looked to Tufnell for inspiration as Wagh and David Hemp threatened to take the game away from them in a rousing partnership of 107 in 18 overs.

Wagh’s strokeplay was witheringly effective as he took three boundaries in an over on three occasions, and in all he collected 16 fours from 68 balls in 86 minutes.

The former Oxford University captain finally mistimed a drive to mid-on and Fraser returned to bowl Dominic Ostler on the stroke of lunch. Then it was back to Tufnell for the crucial wicket of Hemp, who top-edged to mid-on after making 61.

Chad Keegan supplied another thrust by removing Dougie Brown and Ashley Giles in quick succession and Tufnell (4 for 57) accounted for Vasbert Drakes and Mo Sheikh with catches at short leg by Ben Hutton.

Keith Piper, suffering from a virus, delayed the result by leaving his sick-bed to make an unbeaten 20 but Middlesex won with nearly two hours to spare when Keegan wrapped up a return of 3 for 52.



PIPER DEFIES SICKNESS TO AID WARWICKSHIRE

Keith Piper left his sick-bed to delay Middlesex’s charge for victory over Second Division promotion rivals Warwickshire.

Needing 383 to win, the home side appeared to be on the brink of defeat when the 31-year-old wicket-keeper decided to bat despite a viral infection which kept him off the field on Friday.

Piper and Mo Sheikh then survived for ten overs to take Warwickshire to 245 for 8 at tea but Middlesex still had two hours in which to force their third win of the season.

Angus Fraser gave them a good start with an lbw decision against Michael Powell from his eighth ball of the day and Phil Tufnell broke up the main threat after a stand of 107 in 18 overs by Mark Wagh and David Hemp.

Both players were beaten in the flight when putting up catches to mid-on. Wagh had motored to 77 from only 68 balls and Hemp added 61 to his century in the first innings.

Further wickets for Fraser, Tufnell and Chad Keegan almost completed the job until Piper’s act of defiance.



WAGH BRIEFLY LIFTS WARWICKSHIRE'S HOPES

A boundary-packed innings of 77 in 68 balls by Mark Wagh ignited Warwickshire’s bid to reach a target of 382 to beat Middlesex.

The former Oxford University captain put on 107 in 18 overs with David Hemp and their supercharged effort helped the home side to 170 for 4 by lunch after an early setback when resuming at 33 for 1.

Angus Fraser, who dismissed Ian Bell with the last ball on Friday, needed only eight deliveries on the final morning before striking again with an lbw decision against Michael Powell.

Hemp might have gone two balls later when Middlesex appealed for a catch behind the wicket, but Wagh made rapid progress with 16 fours in 86 minutes.

Some momentum was lost with his departure - caught at mid-on in Phil Tufnell’s third over - and Fraser came back to bowl Dominic Ostler on the stroke of lunch. So Warwickshire, with Hemp on 52, began the afternoon needing a further 212 from a minimum of 65.2 overs.

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Date-stamped : 23 Jun2001 - 22:32