Warwickshire-Middlesex: Bears hold on for rain-hit draw
|County Championship Division One, Edgbaston|
|Middlesex 287 & 412 drew with Warwickshire 333 & 152-7|
|Warwickshire 9pts, Middlesex 8pts|
Title-chasing Warwickshire strengthened their hopes of a first County Championship triumph since 2004, despite almost slumping to a home defeat against Middlesex at Edgbaston.
Resuming on 351-5, Middlesex were bowled out for 412 (Boyd Rankin and Chris Wright each taking five wickets), setting an unlikely 367 to win.
The Bears began badly, losing both openers with only 11 on the board.
But after sliding to 86-5, rain saved them, the draw being agreed on 152-7.
Warwickshire's nine points from the game, one more than second-placed Sussex, actually strengthened their position in the title race.
With three fixtures left they lead by 12 points with a game in hand from Sussex, who have two matches to go - and both of them tough ones, at home to fourth-placed Somerset and then a trip to Chester-le-Street to face fast-improving Durham.
Middlesex's hard-nosed in approach in batting all the way in the second innings used up 11 overs at the start of the day, Dawid Malan eventually going for 140, driving loosely outside off stump after a stand of 105 with Gareth Berg, who swatted a catch to cover after making 78, his first half-century of the season.
With an hour lost to drizzle and the last 40 minutes chalked off because of bad light, that possibly cost Middlesex victory.