HomeSPORTSLatest Match Report - Middlesex vs Warwickshire 2023

Latest Match Report – Middlesex vs Warwickshire 2023

Warwickshire 72 for 4 (Rhodes 36*, Murtagh 3-17) path Middlesex 121 (De Caires 40, Hannon-Dalby 5-29) by 49 runs

There’s an opportunity that Tim Murtagh was feeling quite sheepish when, shortly after 4pm, he stepped out of the pavilion as Middlesex’s No.11 to witness – within the center distance, and on essentially the most central and prestigious strip that Lord’s has to supply – a guard of honour lined as much as mark his impending retirement.

The gesture was touching, as was the roar of approval when he blocked his one and solely supply from Chris Rushworth straight again down the pitch, however the timing was a contact discombobulating. In any case, at 100 for 9 on the primary day of Middlesex’s – and due to this fact, probably, Murtagh’s – penultimate match of the season, it wasn’t as if the prospect of a later, and extra terminal, go to to the crease was off the desk simply but.

And apart from, there was one thing about Middlesex’s distracted show as much as that time – even by the requirements of their flatlining season – that had reeked already of “profit match”. Murtagh’s inclusion, for his 264th first-class look and his 91st at Lord’s, had come on the expense of the membership captain Toby Roland-Jones, and so (aside from anything) had additional weakened some of the brittle batting line-ups within the land. On the face of it, it appeared an odd second to disregard the realities of their ongoing race to the underside with Kent.

Warwickshire’s Oliver Hannon-Dalby duly reminded them what was at stake with a route-one haul of 5 for 29 in 10.5 overs: every of his first 4 wickets was the reward for a touch of motion on a probing off-stump line, till Josh De Caires, counterattacking gamely at No.7 for an enterprising 40 from 58 balls, clipped him low to midwicket to go away Murtagh excessive and dry on 0 (1). All out for 121 then, with an uptick of zero batting factors to Middlesex’s survival bid.

However with Kent’s personal bonus-point quest being stymied by Tom Lammonby and Lewis Goldsworthy down at Taunton, up stepped Murtagh for his fundamental occasion, and for the penultimate time on his favorite stage. Seven overs and three wickets later, he’d proven as soon as once more that – in bleak autumnal situations and in your county’s hour of want – typically a timeless show of ball-on-a-string seam bowling is all a group must get again on a fair keel.

Murtagh is 42 years outdated now, and has successfully been a Lord’s specialist this season, with 5 of his six Championship appearances now coming at HQ. However what a specialist, and the way efficient! His ten-wicket haul in opposition to Kent in April stays the important thing cause why Middlesex are usually not (fairly) within the relegation positions, and on this proof – although Warwickshire closed the day with a level of poise by Will Rhodes’ 36 not out – it is not out of the query that Murtagh finally ends up accounting for half of Middlesex’s 4 Championship wins on this marketing campaign. There’ve been 14 wickets on this primary day, in any case. Even permitting for a two-hour rain delay, it is arduous to see this one ending as a draw.

Murtagh wanted a solitary supply to sow these acquainted seeds of doubt, as Rob Yates flinched exterior off to a typical supply that was there to be hit till it was not. His subsequent providing was extra inviting nonetheless, swinging throughout the left-hander and gathering form because it did so, to induce an unsure flat-footed minimize and a fats inside-edge into his stumps – Warwickshire have been 0 for 1 after two balls, and the sport was unquestionably afoot.

Three overs later, with only one run chiselled from his choices, Murtagh struck once more, courtesy of an excellent diving take from John Simpson, flinging himself low to his proper to scoop up a snick off Kraigg Braithwaite that was by no means destined to achieve the cordon. Alex Davies then flapped his second ball over the cordon for 4 as Murtagh hit the seam and located extravagant bounce exterior off; that shot was virtually definitely on his thoughts six balls later, as he stabbed a fats entrance pad down the road to be pinned for the plumbest lbw conceivable.

Even when his spell was completed, Murtagh’s affect was arguably nonetheless obvious. Ethan Bamber changed him on the Nursery Finish, and duly struck along with his second ball – from around the wicket, with a contact extra tempo behind his nip off the seam, to crash previous Dan Mousley’s defences and into his off stump. At 42 for 4, the competition was correctly within the stability, however Rhodes and Ed Barnard quelled the menace as the sunshine pale, to go away far more of the identical required on Wednesday – at Lord’s and at Taunton – if Middlesex are to maintain their hopes alive.

If, nonetheless, the worst does come to move for the membership, then there’s actually no escaping the place the fault will lie. One other sickly batting card has left them counting on a soon-to-be-retired stalwart for yet another bail-out, and even that’s unlikely to be sufficient if the second innings serves up a equally passive show.

Warwickshire received the toss and the wickets have been shortly handed round, not in contrast to a pet at a main faculty – mushy and moreish. Rushworth struck the primary blow, snicking Stoneman’s edge for 13, one ball after he’d induced an almighty waft exterior off. Hannon-Dalby bagged the second, as Sam Robson planted his entrance foot on off stump and was stunned by a touch of nip again into his pads. Craig Miles then got here around the wicket to unroot Jack Davies’ off stump, earlier than Ed Barnard struck one over later, condemning Ryan Higgins’ personal stump to an identical destiny.

Barnard then made it two in 4 overs as John Simpson wafted right into a flimsy cramped minimize and feathered an edge by to Michael Burgess for a duck, as Middlesex limped to lunch, five-down and freefalling.

And as soon as the afternoon rain had abated, it was over to Hannon-Dalby, flapping his limbs like a latter-day Bob Willis as he cantered in from the Nursery Finish, hounding a succession of methods with high-kicking, stump-threatening line and size. Solely De Caires, within the midst of a wonderful late-season flurry with bat and ball, discovered the gumption to withstand, with a deft scoop over the keeper amongst his 5 fours, and a flat slam into the Grandstand for six for good measure. However Murtagh apart, not too lots of his team-mates have but discovered the battle to match their group’s wants.

Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket



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