Cricket: Tufnell gets too excited

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Warwickshire 237 and 142-8

Middlesex 387

THOUGH Middlesex are close to a fourth successive Championship victory that will strengthen their hand at the top of the table, their progress was not completely serene here yesterday because of an outburst by Philip Tufnell and subsequent confrontation with his captain, Mike Gatting.

Tufnell's combustible nature, which led to disciplinary problems on the tour of India during the winter, manifested itself in his highly animated reaction as Jason Ratcliffe departed after he had dismissed him. Gatting's displeasure was evident in the lengthy finger- wagging that followed; Tufnell appeared to be dissuaded by team- mates from taking things further.

Tempers cooled during the tea interval that followed immediately, though not before John Emburey had accounted for Andy Moles. Two deliveries before Ratcliffe had gone, Moles took advantage of a ball from Tufnell which slipped from the bowler's hand and landed at mid-wicket. It was retrieved but the umpire, Peter Wight, returned it to where it originally landed and Moles despatched it to the boundary. It was not clear whether this, or Radcliffe waiting for the umpire's decision to give him out, was the source of Tufnell's annoyance.

It was Emburey, in fact, who caused Warwickshire most trouble. Taking advantage of a pitch offering the spinners generous assistance, he took five more wickets there. The run-out of Dermot Reeve was a bonus as the home side, confronted by a first-innings deficit of 150, subsided to 142 for 8 as Middlesex claimed the extra half-hour.

Middlesex owed their lead to John Carr, whose unbeaten 192, the best score of his career, occupied seven hours. Not all of it was resolute defence. There were nine fours as he progressed from his century past 150, the best of them some sumptous strokes off his legs. Carr's effort represented an exemplary response to adversity, as Middlesex were 90 for 6 at one stage on Friday.