John Carr (64) and Neil Williams (46) did their level best to approximate another after Middlesex had slipped to 78 for 6, but Phil Newport (4 for 59) passed 50 wickets for the season and terminated the resistance at 202, Micky Stewart looking on with interest as Graeme Hick (58 not out) re-boarded the up side of the rollercoaster, Worcestershire adjourning on 132 for 3.
Having mustered less than 300 Championship runs this season, Robin Smith broke out of his county slump in timely fashion at Portsmouth, a robust 79, supplemented by 70 from Malcolm Marshall, enabling Hampshire to declare at 338 for 9 against Glamorgan, Steve Watkin supplying a reminder of the qualities that earned him two caps last summer with a season's best 6 for 97.
There is a strong lobby for Alan Fordham to be granted an A tour at the very least this winter and the forthright opener did his cause no harm with his fourth century of the season, 122 off 192 balls against Lancashire at Wantage Road leading Northamptonshire to 345 for 8 declared despite a return of 5 for 82 from the visitors' promising left- arm spinner Alex Barnett.
Another young blade who may be in line to win his A spurs is Dominic Ostler, who rustled up a six and 32 fours in a scintillating career-best 192 off 243 balls at Guildford to help Warwickshire ride to 372 for 6 declared against Surrey, whose agony continued when Darren Bicknell made a swift exit before the close.
Richard Snell has not enjoyed the most productive of county initiations in his main guise as seam bowler, but Somerset's South African import stilled some of the disquiet at Grace Road with a career-best 81 off 72 balls that dragged his side from 136 for 5 to 327 against Leicestershire, David Millns completing his half-century of scalps with 5 for 64.Reuse content