Robson keeps Middlesex in charge

Sam Robson made his highest first-class score while Steven Finn struck with his first ball on his return from injury as Middlesex’s fine start to the season continued against Warwickshire at Lord’s.

Jonathan Trott led a Warwickshire fightback before bad light ended play 19 overs early at 5.25pm, trailing by 306 runs.

Finn, making his first competitive appearance since England’s third Test against South Africa in January – a calf injury kept him out of the World T20, got one to rise from a length and take the shoulder of Ian Westwood’s bat with his first ball, which Nick Compton caught at fourth slip.

Despite bowling a touch short and going at four runs per over, Finn returned after tea and took the wicket of Sam Hain, who dragged on playing away from his body, for two. 

In conjunction with Finn, Tim Murtagh bowled a fine opening spell from the Pavilion End, and was rewarded for his consistent length with the wicket of Warwickshire captain Ian Bell, who only got half forward and was bowled by one that stayed slightly low.

Trott joined Varun Chopra and shared 77, with both batsmen passing 50, the former for the first time since July 2015. Chopra consecutively drove Finn through the covers for fours when he overpitched, then welcomed Toby Roland-Jones to the attack with a pair of pulled boundaries when he dropped too short. Eventually, in the first over after tea, however, Murtagh bowled Chopra through the gate.

Trott looked fluent, weathering a barrage of short bowling from Finn and punishing anything on his legs and playing a pair of beautiful straight drives. His half-century arrived from 99 deliveries and, after losing Hain, made it to stumps – albeit still 306 runs adrift – in the company of Tim Ambrose.

Steven Finn collected two wickets in his first competitive appearance since suffering a calf injury during the third Test against South Africa

Earlier, Robson picked up where he left off on Sunday, bringing up his third first-class double-century, the highest score of his career, and Middlesex’s highest ever score against Warwickshire. Having reached the last milestone, which had stood since Bill Edrich scored 225 at Edgbaston in 1947, by slapping Jeetan Patel over the offside for his first six, he was well caught by Ian Bell at deep mid-off for a marvellous 231.

In conditions favourable to Warwickshire’s nagging seamers, the hallmarks of Robson’s overnight 175 were all there: an obdurate defence and plenty of leaving backed up by strong cutting and driving. He brought up his double-century from his 311th delivery with a trademark flick to leg for two.

Middlesex were all out for 452 as they looked to push their score along. John Simpson, with whom Robson shared 107, brought up Middlesex’s fourth batting point with a fine pull, but eventually fell caught at the wicket as Rikki Clarke got one to nibble away. Clarke caught James Franklin well at second slip as the New Zealander played across the line to Oliver Hannon-Dalby, then after Robson fell, James Harris was leg before trying to sweep Patel.

The wicket of Murtagh, bowled when cutting Patel, saw the session extended and, after Finn smacked the off-spinner down the ground for six, Bell took another fine catch at deep mid-off to dismiss Roland-Jones and end the innings.

Source: ECB

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