Day 3 Stumps at Lord's: Middlesex 452 & 76-2 v Warwickshire 468.
The fifth double-century of Jonathan Trott’s storied career – as well as a fine all-round display from Keith Barker - saw Warwickshire turn a position of weakness into a chance of victory going into the final day at Lord’s.
When Trott, who resumed on 62, lost Tim Ambrose – bowled playing down the wrong line – and Rikki Clarke, leg before to one that nipped back, both to Toby Roland-Jones, Warwickshire were still 130 shy of the follow-on target with four wickets in hand.
But they met a doughty foe in Trott who having changed his helmet in order to meet new ECB safety requirements, batted masterfully for the highest Championship score of his career. He was as strong as ever through midwicket, pulled anything a touch short and played some beautiful drives, typically through the covers, but also down the ground, too. His first hundred came in 158 balls and the second in 116, and scored 31 boundaries in all. There was elegance and efficiency to his play, and false strokes were seldom seen.
Warwickshire’s rebuild job began as Trott shared 143 with Barker, who grew into his innings as conditions for batting continued to improve. He swept Middlesex’s part-time spinners with surprising deftness and bunted drives off the seamers. Tim Murtagh trapped him in front with the new ball, but Trott, in the company of Jeetan Patel continued on his merry way, adding 65th for the eighth wicket, six of which came as Patel pounded Murtagh down the ground for six. In his quest to repair a shambolic over-rate, Middlesex had bowled too much part-time spin, and Warwickshire had happily profited.
The return of James Harris yielded the wickets of Patel, caught at first slip, and Chris Wright bowled to give Middlesex a third bowling point. Not content with five batting points, Warwickshire charged on and eventually took the lead as Trott shared 67 with Oliver Hannon-Dalby, who eventually fell a ball after pulling Steven Finn - who had bowled a touch short and been expensive - for six. Trott, unbeaten on 219, had played a near-chanceless innings.
Trott and Hannon-Dalby’s brisk and lively partnership delayed the tea break and, upon the resumption, Barker quickly picked up Nick Gubbins, forced to play at a beautiful that delivery that arced away a touch, and Dawid Malan was also caught first slip soon after.
Nick Compton joined Middlesex’s own double centurion and looked in assured touch as they played for stumps. The lead, when they made it, having both cut and driven beautifully and left everything they could, stood at 60, and a fascinating final day – with all three results just about possible – lay in wait.
Day 3 Tea at Lord's: Middlesex 452 v Warwickshire 468 (lead by 16).
Jonathan Trott continued on his merry way, scoring his highest score in County Championship cricket, a magnificent unbeaten 219 as Warwickshire secured full batting points and wrestled their way back into the match. Trott’s was the second double century of the match – after Sam Robson made 231 – and took Warwickshire past Middlesex's 452 as the tea break was delayed. Trott never looked like being dismissed and, remarkably, has put Warwickshire in a position where victory is a possibility.
Trott’s fifth first-class double-century was brought up by his 29th four: a rare false stroke – a thick edge wide of slip off Dawid Malan’s leg-breaks – from his 274th ball. He was as strong as ever through midwicket and cover, while he pulled and straight-drove with elegance too.
Trott lost four partners between lunch and tea; Keith Barker, with whom he shared 143, batted beautifully, sweeping the spinners impressively and organised in defence against the seamers. Tim Murtagh and the new ball did for him, a full delivery trapping the batsman in front. Next was Jeetan Patel, whose lively 30 (in a stand of 65 with Trott) included a six over long-off off Murtagh. The return of James Harris snared Patel and Chris Wright, too. Oliver Hannon-Dalby joined Trott and, having shared 67, Steven Finn had the No11 caught at mid-on the ball after being pulled for six.
Middlesex’s grip on the match slipped either side of lunch as they looked to recover their over rate, which had slipped to -4 as their five-man seam attack bowled the first 63 overs of the innings. Some part-time spin from Adam Voges and Dawid Malan dragged it back to level – but allowed Warwickshire back into the game in the process, however they ended the session back at in the red after the seamers returned.
Day 3 Lunch at Lord's: Middlesex 452 v Warwickshire 264-6
Jonathan Trott completed a masterful century as Warwickshire battled back on the third session against Middlesex at Lord’s. Trott, resuming on 62 and having changed to wear a helmet that complies with ECB regulations, batted with grace and class to bring up his first first-class century since England Lions toured South Africa in January 2015.
Trott was immediately into his work, cover-driving Tim Murtagh and pulling Toby Roland-Jones, before a pair of spectacular straight drives. He brought up his 38th first-class century with his 158th ball by clipping neatly to leg for two. All morning, good balls were simply patted for singles and bad balls were dispatched for four.
He lost two partners before coming together to share 91 with Keith Barker. Tim Ambrose, struggling for fluency, played completely down the wrong line to Roland-Jones and was bowled, before Rikki Clarke was pinned leg before by one that nipped back.
Barker joined Trott and played some tidy sweeps to Adam Voges and defended well to the seamers as Warwickshire took lunch still 39 short of the follow-on target.