A sublime, unbeaten century from Sam Robson saw Middlesex take control of their opening Specsavers County Championship match of the season.
Warwickshire, on the other hand, did not enjoy the day captain Ian Bell had envisioned when, for the second successive Sunday, he invited the home team to bat without a toss.
The visitors, missing the injured Chris Woakes (knee) and Boyd Rankin (side) went wicketless in the first session as Robson and Nick Gubbins, who made a stylish 68, punished the many loose balls served up on a sluggish surface.
Robson, who had reached his half-century before lunch, cut and drove beautifully and was particularly severe on anything on his legs, while Gubbins wristily punished Warwickshire in front and behind point.
Too often, however, Warwickshire played to the pair’s strengths, and Bell certainly would not have planned for Jeetan Patel to bowl five overs before lunch, or been using Jonathan Trott’s medium pacers, either.
After lunch, the pitch appeared to quicken and Keith Barker troubled Gubbins, who despite reaching a fine half-century from 102 balls, was drawn into a wild waft at Chris Wright and the thick edge was well taken by Rikki Clarke at second slip.
Nick Compton lasted just one ball, pushing hard off the back foot and being brilliantly taken by Sam Hain, diving to his left-foot at backward point.
By this stage, however, Robson had reached his first hundred since May 2015. He reached the milestone in 158 balls, including 16 fours, many through point.
Anything remotely short was cut behind square for four – whether Bell posted a man to prevent the shot or not – and his organised defence meant he did not play at anything he did not need to.
By the close, he had 175 fluent, attractive, unbeaten runs. Perhaps, with plenty of spots up for grabs in England’s batting line-up, Robson – who played seven Tests in the summer of 2014 – could yet stake a claim for a recall.
The opener was, naturally, happy with his performance.
He said: "It was a very pleasing day. I felt good today. The sun was out this morning and when you get sent in you want to try to get off to a good start and get to lunch.
"To kick on was very satisfying and we are in a great position. I've been expecting to bat first for four months! We were going to bowl too.
"It was still tough work but once you were in and playing the ball on merit you just put the bad ball away.
"I've worked on a few little things with my game. I'm in a good place and it's great to start well."
Robson had lost Dawid Malan, who left a delivery from Barker that took out his off stump, and Adam Voges, who was through his shot too early and played on to the same bowler, either side of the new ball, but put on a highly entertaining 54 in 13 overs with John Simpson as the shadows lengthened.
Simpson rocked back and pulled Chris Wright into the Mound Stand to bring up Middlesex’s third batting point on what was emphatically Robson’s day with Bell ruing his earlier decision and his side's bowling display.
He said: "We didn't bowl well this morning. At lunch we spoke about it, for our standards to go for 130 (in the morning session), wasn't us at our best.
"But for the next two sessions we've gone for about 180-190, so if we had bowled anything like we did after lunch we would have caused problems.
"Robbo played very well, to score 170 out of 300, they've played very well indeed. It's a good wicket and it was a tough decision.
"You get here and there's ice and rain over the last two days. We just didn't know. And when your gut doesn't know, the best option is probably to bowl. There's not that much pace, but I think tomorrow will be a good day to bat.
"I probably would have tossed in hindsight but that's a wonderful thing. It's the same as last week, at the rose bowl it was a flat wicket too but we just bowled a lot better.
"The bowlers were all keen to bowl. If this game was a month down the line it would have been 100% bat, but a few factors - rain, the pitch under cover - made it 50/50.
"We didn't bowl at our best but Robbo has played fantastically well too. Two more wickets would have made that a pretty good day for us, but the partnership at the end has given them the day."