Middlesex have scored 344 runs for five wickets in their first innings.
When arriving at places such as Alton Towers, visitors are greeted by warnings that some rides may not be suitable for those with heart problems or the pregnant. Such a sign was not necessary at Edgbaston yesterday. It was a day perfect for those of a nervous disposition.
Perhaps yesterday's play was best summed up by the fervent supporter I met on my way out of the ground. "You here tomorrow?" I asked. "Can't face it," he said. "Think I'll make a start on my VAT returns instead." Lucky fellow.
Maybe it was the direct comparison with Twenty20 cricket but yesterday's play did appear to drag. For most of it I wished I had become a matador. Nineteen pigeons flew by (it could have been 18 but I think they were twins), there were 906 spectators and I finally got round to vacuuming the press box.
Two teams in the lower half of the table, neither high on confidence, and both desperate not to lose, slugged it out. It was Joe Bugner v Audley Harrison; limited competitors waiting for the other to make a mistake. It was hard work for batsmen, bowlers and spectators.
That Middlesex resume in the stronger position is largely due to Ed Joyce, who is 158 not out. Out of the game since suffering an ankle injury on his England debut in the Twenty20 international against Sri Lanka, he reminded the national selectors of his considerable claims. It was his third Championship century in only ten innings this season.
There is a theory that Joyce (248 balls, 18 fours) doesn't like short-pitched pace bowling. The persevering Neil Carter made a few hurry through but on this pitch Joyce was largely untroubled. He plays straight, will not be drawn into prodding away from his body and puts away the bad ball. Like most of the best batsmen, he keeps it simple.
This was also a very good toss to win. The pitch is the best yet for a Championship match at Edgbaston this season. It is still too slow but it is flat and true and would appear more characteristic of Edgbaston pitches of recent years; batting last could be tricky.
Warwickshire, without an attack to blast sides out, opted on a policy of attrition. Dougie Brown was particularly tight; a 36-year-old has reinvented himself as a nagging medium-pacer. Yet the way Brown conceded only a run an over in his initial eight-over spell was also admirable. He also prised out Ed Smith with one that nipped back and appeared to keep a little low.
Later a frustrated Scott Styris, scoreless for all of his 24 balls, missed an attempt at a slog sweep, but generally Warwickshire failed to sustain the required accuracy to create pressure. Margins are small on such pitches but some of the fielding was less than sharp. More worryingly, the atmosphere of the side felt flat. At times the ground was silent.
Paul Harris and Alex Loudon bowled pretty well on a pitch that offered them little. Harris, on Championship debut, prised out the whelk-like Nick Compton with a quicker one that the batsman prodded to short-leg. Both suffered from hard missed chances to wicketkeeper Tim Ambrose. Joyce was reprieved on 28 when he under-edged an attempted cut off Harris and Compton was missed off an edged sweep on 32.
Carter, fitfully finding some rhythm, deserved some fortune. He made some balls lift disconcertingly and Owais Shah obligingly pulled directly to long-leg. Compton edged a pull at one well outside off stump.
Only in the last session did Warwickshire appear to tire. An unbroken stand of 97 will need to be broken early this morning. The cricket shop at Edgbaston is staging a dramatic sale on nearly all items until tomorrow at 4pm.