Warwickshire 60 (Bamber 5-20, Roland-Jones 3-27) and 53 for 2 trail Middlesex 199 (Higgins 53, Barnard 3-49, Hamza 3-49) by 86 runs
Middlesex took ruthless advantage of winning a valuable toss by bowling Warwickshire out for 60 on the opening day of their LV=Insurance County Championship match at Edgbaston.
When Roland-Jones won the toss, he hoped his seam attack would make early inroads – to have the home side 17 for 5 after 23 minutes did that job.
It all started swimmingly for Warwickshire as both openers struck their first ball for four, but Roland-Jones launched the clatter with a lifter which Alex Davies gloved to the wicketkeeper. Two balls later, the skipper sent a full-length ball into Will Rhodes’ stumps.
Bamber then found Sam Hain’s edge and Sam Robson took a slick catch at second slip. A simpler chance, offered by Rob Yates off Roland-Jones, was also accepted by Robson before Bamber bowled the entire middle order in 44 balls. Dan Mousley and Jake Bethell were bowled through the gate, Michael Burgess was castled by one that kept low and Ed Barnard’s off stump was clipped by a peach of an outswinger.
When Henry Brookes edged Higgins to third slip, No. 11 Mir Hamza found himself striding in at 12.20pm. He was soon making the return journey after nicking a pull at Higgins.
In ten minutes’ batting before lunch, Middlesex lost Robson who edged Olly Hannon-Dalby to first slip. Soon after the interval, Steve Eskinazi edged Hannon-Dalby behind and Mark Stoneman fell lbw to Hamza who then bowled Max Holden through another open gate.
After diligent innings of 18 from Jack Davies and Jon Simpson were ended by fatal edges, Higgins and Josh de Caires counterattacked. For the first time the pressure was turned on the bowlers as the seventh-wicket pair added 71 in 18 overs.
Higgins has damaged Warwickshire in the past with the ball, notably with 11 for 96 for Gloucestershire in the Bob Willis Trophy at Bristol in 2020. This time he biffed seven fours and a six on his way to his 18th first-class fifty before becoming the first of three wickets for Barnard. Higgins was bowled, de Caires skied a slog and Roland-Jones struck the ball into the crowd at long-on but clipped off a bail with his after-stroke and departed hit wicket.
When Bamber fell lbw to Hannon-Dalby, Middlesex had a chunky lead of 139 and, remarkably, Warwickshire were in again for 13 overs. Their traumas continued as Davies sliced Bamber into the cordon to add a first-baller to his morning second-baller and Rhodes nicked an indiscrete waft at Tom Helm. That was careless from the captain but it was Warwickshire’s morning of mayhem that has left them in a cavernous hole.