Match Report | Warwickshire v Essex

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Warwickshire v Essex | Specsavers County Championship | Edgbaston, Birmingham
Warwickshire team | Dom Sibley (45), Sam Hain (16), Jonathan Trott (9), Ian Bell (4), Matthew Lamb (7), Chris Woakes (19), Alex Mellor (15), Keith Barker (13), Jeetan Patel (5), Henry Brookes (-), Ryan Sidebottom (22).

Essex team | Nick Browne (10), Varun Chopra (6), Tom Westley (21), Ravi Bopara (25), Dan Lawrence (28), Ryan ten Doeschate (27), James Foster (7), Simon Harmer (11), Neil Wagner (13), Jamie Porter (44), Sam Cook (16).

Umpires | Steve O’Shaugnessy & Martin Saggers

Toss | Uncontested and Essex exercised their right to bowl first

Day Three | Close of Play Report

Essex beat Warwickshire by an innings and 56 runs taking them to the brink of thei first County Championship title for 25 years. With the champagne corks ready to pop, only Lancashire can prevent the County from lifting the title in this round of matches and with two matches still to play.

Lancashire have to win at Taunton against Somerset to put the champagne on ice but having been forced to follow-on, it looks an uphill struggle for the Red Rose side.

Simon Harmer took four wickets while Jamie Porter and Sam Cook shared six wickets as Warwickshire were rolled over for 112, the second time this season they have suffered an innings defeat to the Champions elect.

Porter removed both openers at the start of the day before fellow new ball bowler Cook bagged the prized wickets of former England internationals Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell to leave the home side on the rocks at 25 for 4.

Then Harmer got in on the act by having Chris Woakes caught at leg slip by Ravi Bopara for 13 as Warwickshire slumped to 47 for 5 but 8 runs later, the Essex march to victory and glory was halted by rain that forced the players off the field for an early Lunch.

Play resumed at 2.00 p.m. and immediately, Harmer had Alex Mellor picked up at first slip by Varun Chopra as Warwickshire capitulated to 55 for 6.

Keith Barker was the next to go completing a “pair” when he went  forward to Porter and edged a catch to James Foster. Only Matt Lamb offered any token of resistance batting for an hour and 40 minutes to post 35 before he became Harmer’s 7th victim of the match. That latest scalp relied on the help of Dan Lawrence who took the catch at mid-wicket as the bottom of the table side reeled to 82 for 8.

They did limp into three figures thanks to the highest partnership of the innings (23) between Jeetan Patel and Henry Brookes that was concluded when Patel fell to Cook for 18, the victim of another Lawrence catch who completed the dismissal on the run from gully.

It was left to Harmer to wrap up the innings when he had Brookes caught at silly mid-off by Chopra to give the off-spinner his 63rd wicket of the season in the competition.

Harmer ended with figures of 4 for 25, Porter 3 for 37 and Cook 3 for 42 as Essex collected 23 points to bring the Division One title ever closer.

Meanwhile, the defeat ensured life in Division Two for Warwickshire in 2018.

Day Three | Lunch Report

Essex are closing in on the title having reduced Warwickshire to 55 for 5 in their second innings to leave the home side still trailing by 113 runs although rain brought an early lunch to proceedings at Edgbaston.

Two wickets each for Jamie Porter and Sam Cook and one for Simon Harmer caused the damage in a match that Essex have dominated throughout.

Having resumed on 7 without loss, the home side lost their first wicket to the fourth ball of the day when Jamie Porter collected his fifth wicket of the match.

It was first innings top-scorer Dom Sibley that was his victim when the former Surrey batsman played forward and edged a catch to Varun Chopra at first slip. In his next over, Porter pinned the other opener Sam Hain in front of his stumps for 11 with a ball that swung back in to gain the 12th leg before verdict of the match.

Fourteen for two became 20 for three when Sam Cook needed no help from the umpires when a delivery swung late to bowl Jonathan Trott for 6.

Cook then bagged another former England international when Ian Bell was caught off an inside edge by James Foster for 5 to leave the home side in tatters at 25 for 4 inside 12 overs.

Chris Woakes played positively but having scored 13, he steered Simon Harmer – who had replaced Cook, to leg slip where Ravi Bopara took the catch to leave the bottom of the table side 47 for 5.

Rain arrived 20 minutes before the scheduled lunch break to spare the hosts from further ignominy, with Alex Mellor unbeaten on 4 and Matt Lamb 12 not out.

Day Two Reaction | Varun Chopra leads the way for Essex on Day Two at Edgbaston

Interview courtesy of BBC Essex

Day Two | Close of Play Report:

A high-quality innings from Varun Chopra supported by half-centuries from Dan Lawrence and James Foster allowed Champions elect Essex to continue the stranglehold in this contest with Warwickshire at Edgbaston where they ended day two with a lead of 161 runs.

Essex declared on 369 for 9 before their opponents reached 2 without loss from 2 overs in their second innings.

Chopra fell just two runs short of what would have been a superb century on his return to his former stomping ground whilst Lawrence struck a fine 78 with the duo sharing a third wicket partnership worth 92 runs that eased their side into the first innings lead.

Opening batsman Chopra showed patience and judgement whilst quick top pick off the less worth delivery and that ideal approach saw him spend four hours at the crease bringing him 15 boundaries.

He was finally undone on the cusp of his century and with the total on 220 when he was stuck on the pad by an inswinging delivery from Matt Lamb.

Lawrence caught the eye with an ultra confident technique placing the ball through the field with expertise to reach a 91-ball half-century. He continued to score until having reached 78, he attempted to cut a ball from Ryan Sidebottom and was caught in the gully by Ian Bell.

Ravi Bopara went for 20 and Ryan ten Doeschate without scoring to leave Essex 271 for 6 but Foster found an effective ally in Simon Harmer with whom he added 76 runs in 22 overs.

Foster, who had scored a century when the two teams met at Chelmsford earlier in the summer, played a highly entertaining innings whilst Harmer offered dependable support as the pair took the side to 347 before being parted.

Harmer recorded his highest Championship score of the summer in reaching 24 before he was struck on the front pad by Chris Woakes.

Neil Wagner drove his first ball to the cover boundary to bring the visitors their fourth batting point. At the end of the 110 overs, the visitors were 363 for 7 having to settle for the 4 batting points to add to their 3 bowling points.

Wagner, with his score on 9 and the total on 367, pushed at a ball outside off and was caught by wicket-keeper Alex Mellor.

Foster’s 68-ball half century contained 10 fours and he continued to dictate the bowling until he fell to the spin of Jeetan Patel with his score on 68, the 11th leg before decision of the game so far and soon after, Essex declared.

Essex had started the day at 69 without loss and Nick Browne had added just one run to his overnight score when he edged to slip for 24 leaving Tom Westley to join Chopra in a stand of 56.

Westley got off the mark with a four and looked comfortable at the crease playing particularly effectively on the leg side with a number of trademark boundaries.

However, he had scored 28 from 40 balls when he nibbled at a ball outside off stump to get the thinnest of edges that gave a catch to the wicket-keeper.

Day Two | Tea Report:

A fine innings by Varun Chopra aided by a half-century from Dan Lawrence ensured Essex were in control at the interval having scored 271 for 5 to hold a first innings lead of 70 runs so far.

Chopra batted superbly showing excellent timing as he ensured a healthy situation for his side and seemed set for a well-deserved century on his return to Edgbaston.

Together with Lawrence, 92 runs were added for the third wicket taking the score onto 220 when the classy Chopra pushed forward and was adjudged leg before wicket to Matt Lamb to be denied his century by an agonising two runs. He had spent four hours at the crease and on his departure, his fine work was continued by Lawrence.

The 20 year-old passed his fifty from 91 balls with 9 boundaries and progressed to 78 when he attempted to cut Ryan Sidebottom and was caught by Ian Bell in the gully.

By that time, the league leaders had gathered their second batting point having reached 252 but they lost their fifth wicket four runs later when skipper Ryan ten Doeschate got an inside edge when facing Sidebottom and played onto his stumps to depart without score.

Ravi Bopara though proved adhesive and had scored 20 when tea was taken whilst James Foster was 9 not out.

Day Two | Lunch Report:

Essex reached 146 for 2 when rain brought the players off the field for an early Lunch with the visitors trailing Warwickshire by just 55 runs on first innings at Edgbaston.

Varun Chopra looked in superb form taking his overnight score of 42 onto 79 reaching his half-century from 84 balls with the tenth boundary of his innings.

Nick Browne was an early casualty when he was dismissed in the third over of the morning for 24 to leave the table-toppers 72 for 1 but then Tom Westley joined Chopra to post another half-century partnership.

The England batsman dealt readily in boundaries getting off the mark immediately when hitting a four.

Typically strong through the leg side, he had reached 28 finding the ropes five times when he flirted with a ball from Chris Woakes outside off and got the thinnest of edges to give wicket-keeper Alex Mellor a straight forward catch to leave the visitors 128 for 2.

Meanwhile Chopra, back on his former stomping ground, continued to play solidly and attractively as he punished the loose delivery  readily.

Dan Lawrence had just reached double figures when the weather turned its back on Essex halting their progress in a match they have completely dominated thus far.

Day One | Close of Play Report:

Jamie Porter and Simon Harmer continued their incisive form sharing 8 wickets as Warwickshire were bowled out for 201 before Essex replied with 69 without loss on the opening day of the County Championship match at Edgbaston.

Varun Chopra was unbeaten on 42, while Nick Browne was 23 not out when bad light ended play for the day.

Paceman, Porter returned figures of 4 for 45 taking his total of Championship wickets to 61 whilst off-spinner Harmer now has 59 wickets to his name in the competition.

After an uncontested toss, Porter immediately had the bottom of the table side in trouble striking twice in his first two overs to remove Sam Hain and Jonathan Trott, both to leg before decisions to leave the hosts 12 for 2.

Harmer also gained favourable verdicts from the umpires, Steve O’Shaughnessy and Martin Saggers, with three lbw’s. Chris Woakes, Alex Mellor and Keith Barker all perished when struck on the pads. The South African’s fourth victim came with a classic delivery when he bowled debutant Henry Brookes through the gate.

After Porter’s early damage, Warwickshire opener Dom Sibley attempted to hold the innings together and although there were three useful stands, none of his colleagues were able to provide the solidity required.

Sibley, who joined Warwickshire from Surrey earlier on the season, proved a resilient force batting for 4 hours and 24 minutes before he edged a ball from Porter into the gloves of James Foster after hitting 76 that included nine fours.

Although he showed intent, that was lacking elsewhere despite three useful stands. Ian Bell scored 37 out of a third wicket stand worth 46 before Neil Wagner trapped him in the crease.

Matt Lamb contributed 32 in a partnership of 52 for the fourth wicket before he fell to Sam Cook who deserved his reward after being the bat on a number of occasions when taking the new ball at the start of the day.

Then Chris Woakes fell to Harmer for 22 bringing an end to a fifth wicket liaison with Sibley that raised 43 runs. The demise of the England player left the home side 153 for 5. That became 181 for 6 and the remaining four wickets went for 20 runs in six overs including that of Sibley who was the last man out.

Harmer returned 4 for 47, Porter 4 for 62, Wagner 1 for 38 and Cook 1 for 42.

Chopra and Browne then comfortably coped with the Warwickshire attack including the threat of paceman Woakes and spinner Patel posting an unbroken half-century stand.

During his innings, Browne passed 1,000 first-class runs for the season and both openers looked well-organised showing excellent shot-selection on a day when Essex took another three points towards the target of 37 that would guarantee them the Championship title for the first time since 1992.

Day One | Tea Report:

Essex are two points nearer the title after reducing Warwickshire to 187 for 8 at tea with Jamie Porter and Simon Harmer sharing six wickets.

The bottom of the table home side continued their troubled campaign when they lost five wickets after lunch having resumed on 75 for 3 although opener Dom Sibley has made a brave attempt to hold the innings together with 70 not out.

All credit to the Essex attack who kept the pressure on with their leading bowlers of Porter and Harmer adding to their impressive individual tally’s of the campaign.

First batsman to go after lunch was Matt Lamb who pushed outside off stump and edged the ball through to wicket-keeper James Foster having scored 32 out of 110 for 4 and to bring an end to a 52 runs stand.

Sibley, battling throughout, reached a 142 balls half-century that included 5 fours but he lost all-rounder Chris Woakes with the score on 153 when he went back and paid the price being leg before to Harmer for 22.

Next to go was Alex Meloor who fatally offered no shot and was trapped leg before for 10 to leave Warwickshire 181 for 6 as Essex claimed the second bowling point.
With tea approaching, there was a double bonus for the league leaders.

Keith Barker became the sixth lbw victim of the match when he went to an inswinging delivery sent down by Porter and then Jeetan Patel was dismissed with the final ball of the session.

He had scored 1 when Harmer trapped him in front of his stumps leaving Sibley 70 not out desperately seeking assistance in his attempt to sustain the innings.

Harmer has 3-46, Porter 3-52, Wagner 1-38 and Cook 1-42.

Day One | Lunch Report:

The first session of the match proved a rewarding one for league leaders Essex who reduced bottom of the table Warwickshire to 75 for 3 at the interval in their County Championship Division One clash at Edgbaston after an uncontested toss.

Jamie Porter got the visitors off to a wonderful start when he trapped Sam Hain lbw for 4 with a delivery that hit the back pad. That wicket came with the fifth ball of the game and in his next over, the paceman was celebrating once more.

This time, his victim was Jonathan Trott who was also leg before wicket, this time for 3 when he was struck on the front pad to leave the home side 12 for 2.

Fellow new ball bowler Sam Cook also impressed and although wicketless, the youngster passed the bat on a number of occasions without getting due reward.

Former England batsman Ian Bell and opener Dom Sibley showed battling qualities to contain the impressive Essex attack but having posted 46 in 16 overs for the third wicket, their resolve was ended by Neil Wagner.

The New Zealander, back with the County for the final three matches of the campaign, produced an inswinging delivery that proved too good for Bell who had scored 37 out of the 58 runs on the board when he became the third lbw victim of the session.

The consistent line adopted by the pace bowlers proved a feature of the morning’s play and Porter should have earned a third wicket but Sibley, having scored 2, was dropped by Simon Harmer at second slip with the score on 15.

Harmer, who claimed 8 lbw victims amongst his 14 wickets haul when the two teams met at Chelmsford earlier this season, later came into the attack and was soon finding turn to have the batsmen playing circumspectly and often with uncertainty but Sibley and Matt Lamb went to Lunch with their wickets intact having scored 17 and 10 respectively.

Porter has taken 2 for 19 so far and Wagner 1 for 15.

Essex welcomed back Ryan ten Doeschate, Neil Wagner and Tom Westley and they replaced Ashar Zaidi, Adam Wheater and Paul Walter that gained a draw with Lancashire in the previous match.