Trott and Barker turn tables on Middlesex

Jonathan Trott’s fifth career double-century and 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 against Middlesex at Lord’s.

Trott’s 219 not out and 81 from number eight Barker helped dig Warwickshire out of a sizeable hole to make 468 and claim a first-innings lead of 16 over their hosts.

Barker then ripped out Nick Gubbins and Dawid Malan cheaply before Middlesex recovered to 76 for two at the close, Sam Robson following up his 231 from earlier in the match with an unbeaten 35.

Nick Compton was also there on 34 not out as Middlesex ended the day with a lead of 60 and all four results still possible.

It is a scenario Warwickshire could hardly have imagined when they slumped to 173 for six this morning after losing Tim Ambrose and Rikki Clarke in quick succession to Toby Roland-Jones.

That left the visitors still 130 shy of the follow-on target with just four wickets in hand.

However, Middlesex 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.

Starting the day on 62, Trott 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. 

His first hundred came in 158 balls and the second in 116, and he 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 a stand of 143 with Barker, who grew into his innings as conditions for batting continued to improve.

Barker swept Middlesex’s part-time spinners with surprising deftness and bunted drives off the seamers before he finally fell when Tim Murtagh trapped him in front with the new ball.

But Trott, in the company of Jeetan Patel, continued on his way, adding 65 for the eighth wicket, six of which came as Patel pounded Murtagh down the ground.

In their quest to repair a shambolic over-rate, Middlesex bowled too much part-time spin, and Warwickshire happily profited.

The return of James Harris yielded the wickets of Patel, caught at first slip for 30, and Chris Wright, who was 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 for six to leave Trott unbeaten.

Trott and Hannon-Dalby’s brisk and lively partnership delayed the tea break and, upon the resumption, Barker quickly picked up Gubbins, forced to play at a beautiful delivery that arced away a touch, and Malan was also caught at first slip soon after.

Compton joined Robson and they looked in assured touch as they played for stumps.

Trott said: “It was nice. We were in a difficult position this morning. We lost two early wickets but then Keith Barker played well and we put the pressure back on them.

Once you settle at the crease it’s a good wicket. We want to be positive and look to score. We were staring at the follow on, but that’s a good target. We went from there.

“Milestones are nice. You work hard in the winter for these moments. Hopefully we can get a win if we play well tomorrow. We have our work cut out, they are determined batters and hopefully there is a bit of cloud cover.”

Harris said: “That was our first long day in the dirt of the season. We probably weren’t quite at our best, but you have to give Trotty a lot of credit.

“The game has been dominated by two blokes with the bat, Sam was brilliant for us. We have to come back tomorrow and see where the game takes us.

We know how dangerous their lower order is – Barker, Patel have got runs against us in the past, and Barker played nicely today.

“All three results are theoretically possible. It will be interesting to see if the pitch does anything, it’s been pretty true apart from the odd one going up and down. It will be sunny again tomorrow and it’s flattened out a bit so it should be good for batting again.”

Source: ECB

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