CricInfo Championship: Middlesex v Warwickshire at Lord's, 22-25 Aug 2001
Matt Appleby
CricInfo.com

Warwickshire 1st innings: Day Two: Stumps, Day 4 - Lunch,
Middlesex 2nd innings: Day 4 - Tea,
Middlesex 1st innings: Day One: Lunch, Day One: Tea, Day One: Stumps, Day Two: Lunch, Day Two: Tea,


MIDDLESEX STILL TRAIL WARWICKSHIRE GOING INTO FINAL SESSION

Middlesex were 95 for four at tea on the final day of their Division Two match against Warwickshire at Lord's on Saturday, 34 behind with 34 overs remaining.

At 50 for three, with 53 overs left, Middlesex were struggling to avoid a loss that would have taken them out of the top three for the first time this season. If Warwickshire win they will replace Middlesex in a promotion spot.

Although the pitch was still playing superbly, Warwickshire gave Middlesex "a blast to see if we can knock them out," in the words of the day's treble-centurion, Mark Wagh.

Vasbert Drakes provided the impetus, bouncing out Michael Brown and then having Owais Shah caught at point for a duck in the same over.

Andrew Strauss (29) played on eight overs later, giving debutant spinner Jamie Spires his maiden first-class wicket.

First innings centurions, Stephen Fleming and Ed Joyce, then steadied Middlesex before the Irishman was caught off bat and pad at silly point, making the score 90 for four.



WAGH REACHES 315 BEFORE MIDDLESEX FINALLY STOP HIM

Mark Wagh's 315, the second highest score by a Warwickshire batsman, had put his side 129 ahead at lunch on the final day of their Division Two match against Middlesex.

Statisticians were in delight as they ticked off the records during Wagh's 10-and-a-half hour innings.

Wagh, resuming on 266, passed SP Kinneir and Roger Twose on the Warwickshire high innings list before becoming a triple centurion off 434 balls with a two through cover off Tim Bloomfield.

Mike Hussey's season high of 329 not out and Graham Gooch's Lord's' best of 333 loomed, but Wagh chipped Bloomfield to Jamie Dalrymple to midwicket leaving these scores and Jack Hobbs' Lord's championship pinnacle of 316 not out intact.

Vasbert Drakes (with his Warwickshire best of 41) had added 91 before hitting Paul Weekes to Owais Shah at long-on.

Cahles Dagnall skied a pull of Bloomfield in the next over to be caught by Dalrymple at midwicket.

Warwickshire's 631for nine declared was the highest score against Middlesex in the County Championship.

At lunch the home team were 18 for no wicket. A draw seems inevitable.



BOWLERS SUFFER AS BATSMEN ENJOY LORD'S PITCH

As early as day two of their 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 hit 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.



NASH AND WEEKES MAKE IT FOUR CENTURIES IN AN INNINGS

Middlesex reached an epic 502-7 declared against Warwickshire in their CricInfo Championship Division Two clash at tea on the second day.

Remarkably four batsmen reached their centuries, for just the third time in the club's history. On the last occasion, in 1923, E.H Hendren, J.W Hearne, H.W Lee and H.L Dales helped Middlesex reach 642-3 declared against Hampshire in Southampton.

In this match, numbers four to seven in the batting order scored hundreds; the batsmen being Stephen Fleming (102), Ed Joyce (104), Paul Weekes (107) and David Nash (103*).

Weekes and Nash both made their highest scores for two years whilst adding a Middlesex v Warwickshire record of 189 for the sixth wicket.

It was Alan Richardson who broke through in the 144th over, Weekes playing a tired flick to Nick Knight at mid on. Jamie Dalrymple on his CricInfo Championship debut also fell to Richardson, lbw for 10, playing across the line to one that kept slightly low.

A Nash on-drive, from a Richardson full toss, brought up the 500 and the wicketkeeper's third first-class hundred. This prompted Angus Fraser's declaration and also an early tea interval.

Nash took 187 balls to bring up his ton, with nine fours, while Weekes took 191 balls, hitting a six and 13 fours.

Strangely, slow left-armer Jamie Spires wasn't used by Warwickshire captain, Mike Powell, against the Weekes-Nash left-hand right-hand combination.



WEEKES AND NASH PUNISH WARWICKSHIRE

Warwickshire failed to take a wicket in the morning session of day two of the CricInfo Championship match they need to win to keep up in the Division Two promotion race.

Paul Weekes (84*) and David Nash (73*) batted through to lunch at Lord's, with Middlesex at a commanding 424-5.

Both batsmen made season's best scores. The pair also scored matching fifth half-centuries for the year, Weekes from 83 balls with a six and six fours, Nash taking 104 balls and hitting four fours.

The first hour produced just 29 runs in 14 overs, with Weekes, who scored just eight of them, unable to breech the 6-3 off side field of Vasbert Drakes and Alan Richardson.

However, the batsmen cracked 31 of the next six overs to reach 398-5 when light rain sent the players off the field for half-an-hour.

The sixth wicket has now added 156, and has given Middlesex three more batting points, which could be crucial with the top of the second division tightly packed.

Weekes and Nash, both former England 'A' tourists, also have 36 wickets and 38 dismissals respectively in solid seasons which, however, are unlikely to lead to further representative selections for this winter's tours.

Mark Wagh, who turned his back on a hard hit caught and bowled chance, missed Weekes, on 76. The Middlesex 32-year-old celebrated with consecutive pulled and driven boundaries to take the partnership to 150 in 255 balls.



JOYCE AND FLEMING EARN MIDDLESEX THE INITIATIVE OVER WARWICKSHIRE

A Dubliner named Joyce will give readers plenty of new material after an educated maiden century on the first day of the CricInfo Championship Division Two promotion clash between Middlesex and Warwickshire at Lord's.

Ed Joyce, who has four siblings who have represented Ireland at cricket, but who is not believed to be related to the author, James Joyce, began his innings with the total reading 33-3.

However, with fellow left-hander Stephen Fleming making a century, Middlesex didn't lose another wicket until after tea, reaching 338-5 at the close.

Joyce and Fleming quickly subdued the weakened Warwickshire attack, which was missing Mel Betts (rib injury), Neil Carter (back), Ashley Giles (achilles) and Neil Smith (dropped).

Birmingham League slow left-armer Jamie Spires was drafted in, returning figures of 0-82 in 23 overs.

Although Charlie Dagnall (2-60), making his season's debut in the competition, removed the in-form Andrew Strauss, and Young Cricketer of the Year, Owais Shah, in his opening spell, Joyce and Fleming composed chanceless innings in the afternoon sunshine.

Fleming was first to his century, off 174 balls with 15 fours, in just less than four hours.

This was his first century for Middlesex at Lord's, although he scored one at H.Q for New Zealand against the county in 1994.

While it was the 16th first-class century of Fleming's career (that began in 1991-92), Joyce brought up his first ton in just his 14th first-class innings.

A controlled hook through midwicket off a Dougie Brown no-ball took him to his century, and set a new Middlesex v Warwickshire record for a fourth wicket stand. The previous record was set by Greville Stevens and Patsy Hendren, another of Irish blood, back in 1931.

Fleming waved a bat at one outside his off stump in Brown's next over to be caught behind for 102, ending the partnership of 219.

Joyce, too, failed to go on, being run out by Ian Bell for 104 after a mix-up with new batsman, Paul Weekes.

However, Weekes (47*) and David Nash (28*) saw Middlesex through to a third batting point in their quest for promotion from Division Two.



JOYCE AND FLEMING PUT MIDDLESEX IN CHARGE

Ed Joyce and Stephen Fleming batted all afternoon to take Middlesex to 233-3 in their CricInfo Championship Division Two promotion clash with Warwickshire at Lord's.

Joyce, who studied law at Trinity College, Dublin, proved a good judge of which ball to punish, making a career-best 96*. Fleming (90*) scored his first first-class half-century for Middlesex at Lord's, having hit three centuries in away games this season.

So far the left-handed pair have added exactly 200 for the fourth wicket, after Middlesex were reduced to 33-3 by Charles Dagnall and Vasbert Drakes.

Joyce, aged 22, in his first championship start of the season was rarely in trouble, although Drakes hit him on the helmet when the Irishman was on 54. Drakes also let a hook for four go over his head at long leg off Dagnall when Joyce had made 62.

His 50 came up in 94 balls with six fours. Fleming's arrived soon after from 83-balls with a seventh boundary, straight driven off Alan Richardson.

Warwickshire's first team debutant Jamie Spires, along with Mark Wagh, bowled long spells of slow left-arm and off-spin respectively, keeping the run rate to three an over until Fling let loose in the 70th over with consecutive fours over mid on.



JOYCE AND FLEMING FRUSTRATE WARWICKSHIRE

A determined unbeaten stand of 91 between Stephen Fleming (36*) and Ed Joyce (45*) enabled Middlesex to 33-3 to 124-3 at lunch against a weakened Warwickshire side at Lord's today.

Prior to the toss just 1.25 points separated these two teams in Division Two of the CricInfo Championship promotion race.

The correct coin call could anticipate a big score on a flat track with shortened boundaries and the sun shining.

Middlesex won, but opener Michael Brown, on his season's Championship debut, let Vasbert Drakes' fifth delivery go, losing his off stump.

An Oasis Shah cover-drive brought up his 1000th run of the season, but soon afterwards he lost his partner, Andrew Strauss, bowled off an inside edge with the score on 32.

Charlie Dagnall, 2-26, was the bowler, and the former Cumberland quick had more success when he had Shah caught down the led side in his next over.

However, the New Zealand/Ireland axis of Fleming and Joyce batted calmly to lunch as a Warwickshire attack lacking Mel Betts (rib injury), Neil Carter (back), Ashley Giles (achilles) and Neil Smith (dropped) couldn't support the dangerous duo of Dagnall and Drakes.

Meanwhile, Middlesex opener Mike Roseberry is expected to announce his retirement this afternoon.

© CricInfo

Date-stamped : 25 Aug2001 - 18:30