Cricket: Lara's cameo lights up Lord's: Warwickshire's flashing blade delivers again

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The Independent Online
Middlesex. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .150

Warwickshire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .151-7

Warwickshire win by three wickets

FOR 63 glorious minutes, while Brian Lara made 34, a dour and rather featureless Benson and Hedges second-round game was marked with a distinctive brilliance which very few players have been able to bring to the art of batting, and Warwickshire were helped to victory over Middlesex by three wickets. Middlesex, who were put in, made 150 in 54.3 overs and Warwickshire replied with 151 for seven in 53.2.

Warwickshire nearly lost their way at the end after an admirable fifth-wicket stand of 70 between Dermot Reeve and Trevor Penney had almost reached the target. Two brilliant catches by John Carr off Paul Weekes reduced Warwickshire to 141 for 7 before Reeve and Gladstone Small saw them home.

Earlier in the innings Lara struck seven lovely fours and prevented Warwickshire from becoming the victims of their own slow start. He glanced his first ball with precise control to the fine-leg boundary and his next ball was sent in the air past Carr at short leg for two.

The first ball Lara faced from Angus Fraser, he despatched to the mid-wicket boundary with that special fluency which belongs to some left-handers. In his next over, Fraser was on-driven for four; after that, Williams was whipped to backward square leg and then pulled wide of mid-on.

And on it went. Lara's eye and therefore his footwork was so fast that any error of length was seized upon. One was hard pressed to believe that it was the same day, the same match or the same pitch on which the first part of the game had been played. Until the 16th over, when he played back to a ball from Richard Johnson which scuttled through, flicked his inside edge and crashed into the middle stump.

At the start of the day Middlesex had made a bad start, losing Desmond Haynes and Mike Gatting to Tim Munton. The ball moved around mainly off the seam and Warwickshire bowled too well to allow Middlesex to make a worthwhile recovery.

(Photograph omitted)