Sam Robson's double ton leaves Warwickshire bemoaning international absentees

Middlesex 428-5 v Warwickshire

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The Independent Online

Warwickshire's title defence continued to make difficult progress. Middlesex, who have set down an early marker in Division One by winning two of their opening three matches, were not to be denied maximum batting points as Sam Robson powered to a double century. They were twice close to beating Warwickshire last season when the weather conspired to thwart them, in the light of which they will hope that the post-lunch washout does not prove ominous.

The champions, on the other hand, would not mind more of the same, given the limitations of their bowling resources. With Keith Barker and new recruit Oliver Hannon-Dalby injured, England's requirement that Chris Woakes and Chris Wright – as well as opening batsman Varun Chopra – turn out for the Lions against New Zealand has put them in a fix that Dougie Brown, their new director of cricket, believes might have been alleviated.

"We know there is a bigger picture and the Lions match is a great opportunity for Wright and Woakes and Chopra as well to put themselves in the reckoning," he said. "But maybe they need to look at a contingency if there is an issue with a county such as an injury crisis. If there is one county losing a large number of players to the Lions, it would seem reasonable to have someone back to bolster resources."

As it was, Warwickshire managed their depleted attack carefully and were a little unlucky not to have picked up the extra wickets that might have given them the consolation of a second bowling point.

Boyd Rankin bowled better than he had on the opening day, denying Neil Dexter a half-century, Tom Allin continued to make a good impression on his debut and Jonathan Trott almost had Robson on 141, spilling a difficult caught-and-bowled chance.

Robson, who left behind his previous career best of 204 when he lofted Jeetan Patel for six over wide long on, resumes on 215 as Middlesex seek a total that might require them to bat only once. He said he is committed to qualifying by residence for England next year.

"I don't think there is a realistic chance of Australia picking me at the moment and while there have been opportunities to play first-class cricket in Australia I wouldn't want to jeopardise my position in county cricket," Robson said.