Pollock's six wickets light up dark day

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reports from Lord's

Middlesex 413 Warwickshire 76-1

Staring at an empty cricket ground could be a job for sinners in hell. Weather-watching accounted for 46 overs yesterday and the match drifted in and out of focus, as Middlesex meandered through an interrupted morning into a dull afternoon.

Mark Ramprakash's departure after he had added five runs to his overnight 164 - and even those took him 27 deliveries - set the tone for the day. Shaun Pollock, always dangerous from the Pavilion End, startled the usually assured Ramprakash with one that lifted sharply. The batsman's attempt to guide it to third man presented Pollock with his first five-wicket haul in the championship and Dominic Ostler with his fourth catch.

Wicketkeeper Keith Brown did stay long enough to reach a summer's best, but he had only moved on by 19 runs from his first-day score before he fell victim to his namesake, Dougie Brown, caught by opposing wicketkeeper Mike Burns for 79 sound runs. Brown, Dougie that is, had already taken care of Richard Johnson with his controlled seam bowling and, after the ignominy of being creamed for two boundaries by Angus Fraser, had him well taken behind in the same over.

Pollock returned in search of a sixth wicket with last man Phil Tufnell at the crease. But Tufnell was not over-willing to give up his wicket, particularly since he has been in some kind of form with the bat - he has passed his hundred for the season, and at an average of more than 17 in nine outings.

He had edged to four when he found the boundary. The shot was not exactly textbook. In fact it was a stroke made more in self-defence after Pollock got another to lift. Tufnell then attempted an extravagant drive next ball and was bowled by a ball of fuller length. Pollock finished with his best figures for Warwickshire of 6 for 56.

Slow left-armer Tufnell had the penultimate word, rudely interrupting Neil Smith's innings when the batsman went back, stabbed forward and missed the ball, which did not miss his pads. Sadly for a match needing some light relief dark skies had the last word, driving everyone off with over an hour left.

n Warwickshire have been summoned to Lord's after receiving a "below average" marking for their Test match pitch for the second year in succession. The Test and County Cricket Board will express their concern when Warwickshire officials appear before the pitches committee next week.

Tim Lamb, the TCCB cricket secretary, said: "The Board are concerned about pitch preparation at Edgbaston and we will be doing everything possible via the pitches committee to sort it out. The matter needs to be addressed urgently. Warwickshire have to accept there is a problem."