Leicestershire v Essex | Specsavers County Championship | The Fischer County Ground, Leicester
Leicestershire team | Paul Horton (2), Angus Robson (8), Neil Dexter (17), Mark Cosgrove* (55), Mark Pettini (6), Ned Eckersley + (33), Lewis Hill (23), Ben Raine (44), Richard Jones (25), Dieter Klein (77), Charlie Shreck (4).
Essex team | Nick Browne (10), Alastair Cook (26), Tom Westley (21), Ravi Bopara (25), Dan Lawrence (28), Ryan ten Doeschate* (27), James Foster + (7), Will Rhodes (-), Graham Napier (17), David Masters (9), Jamie Porter (44).
Umpires | Nigel Cook and Billy Taylor
Toss | Uncontested and Essex chose to bowl
Result | Essex win by an innings and 10 runs
Day Three | Match Highlights
Day Three | Close of Play Report
Table-topping Essex took a massive step closer towards Division One cricket in 2017 when they beat closest rivals Leicestershire by an innings and ten runs with more than a day to spare.
Starting their second innings with a deficit of 185 runs, the Foxes were bowled out in 49.3 overs after David Masters and Jamie Porter shared 8 wickets with the latter taking his match tally to 8 for 99 and leaving him requiring one wicket for 50 Championship wickets this season.
The home side lost their first wicket when former Leicestershire seamer Masters found an excellent line outside off stump Paul Horton edged a catch to give James Foster the first of his five victims in the innings.
By lunch, the Foxes were 53 for 2 after Graham Napier had Angus Robson caught at first slip by Alastair Cook for 21 ending what proved to be the highest partnership of the innings and worth 46 runs.
The session between lunch and tea lasted just 7 overs because of rain and tea was taken early but by then, Essex had also captured the wicket of Mark Cosgrove when the Australian, on 27, walked in front of his stumps to be struck on the pads by Masters.
Alastair Cook left the action during the break to attend an ECB meeting to discuss the proposed England winter tour to Bangladesh and was replaced by Kishen Velani who was to play a role in two of the wickets to fall subsequently.
On the resumption, wickets fell at regular intervals with Porter accounting for Mark Pettini (6) and Ned Eckersley (12) who was caught by Velani at square leg before Neil Dexter was removed for 44 as the hosts reeled to 116 for 7.
Ben Raine and Richard Jones added 25 to delay the inevitable end but a horrendous mix-up saw Raine run out by Velani’s throw from mid-wicket to the striker’s end with both batsmen in close proximity at the non-strikers end of the pitch.
Porter, having been rested, returned to have Jones caught behind for 19 leaving Masters to claim the final wicket when Charlie Shreck was pinned in front of his stumps.
Masters finished with 4 for 39 and Porter 4 for 49.
Earlier in the day, Dan Lawrence and Graham Napier secured the fifth batting point for Essex after they resumed on 368 for 8 although it was to prove a nail-biting wait before the 400 was reached in the permitted overs. Seven runs were needed from the final available over and Napier collected a 2 and then a boundary before a scrambled single from the final delivery of the 110th over gave Essex the eighth bonus point of the match.
Napier was eventually caught for 31 before Dan Lawrence’s magnificent innings of 154 spanning 304 balls containing 19 boundaries and occupying 6 hours and 20 minutes was brought to an end as Essex were bowled out for 423.
Lawrence had played a crucial role in transforming the innings that, at one stage, appeared in trouble at 68 for 5 before he underpinned the telling recovery that was to pave the way for the memorable success.
Essex took 24 points from the match to extend their lead at the top of the league and bring the anticipation of top-flight cricket to The Essex County Ground ever closer.
Day Three | Tea Report
Despite a truncated session between lunch and tea when only 7 overs were possible, Essex claimed another wicket when Mark Cosgrave. The Australian was pinned in front of his stumps by David Masters for 27 before tea was taken, with the score 99 for 3 after rain had brought a halt to proceeding.
The dismissal of Foxes skipper Cosgrove, who had hit six fours in going to 26 from just 23 balls reduced Leicestershire to 88-3, still 97 runs short of making Essex bat again. Soon afterwards a shower saw umpires Billy Taylor and Nick Cook take the players off for an early tea, with a potential 53 overs remaining in the day’s play.
Former Leicestershire seamer Masters had made a quick breakthrough when Leicestershire started their second innings 185 runs adrift. He found movement to take the edge of Paul Horton’s bat as the opener pushed forward in defence, and shortly before lunch, Angus Robson pushed at a Graham Napier delivery and edged a straightforward catch to Alastair Cook at first slip.
Day Three | Lunch Report
Another excellent period of play for Essex in their County Championship top-of-the-table clash with Leicestershire saw the home side arrive at lunch on 53 for 2 in their second innings after Essex had been dismissed for 423.
David Masters and Graham Napier removed both openers to leave the home side trailing by 132 runs as Ryan ten Doeschate’s men moved a step closer to securing promotion as they looked to complete their fifth win of the summer in the competition.
The visitors have already taken maximum bonus points from this encounter against a side that started the match in second place in Division Two and it was Dan Lawrence and Napier that achieved the final batting point after they resumed on 368 for 8 at the start of play this morning.
When the final available over for bonus points commenced, the visitors still required a further seven runs but Napier collected two runs from the first ball before striking the third delivery to the boundary. However it took a scrambled single off the last ball to lift the total onto 400 and book the fifth and final batting point. It was a remarkable transformation to an innings that had seen Essex in trouble at 68 for 5 at one stage.
With his job done with the bat, Napier was finally caught at mid-wicket for 31 but Lawrence continued his outstanding innings to reach 154 before he drove to mid-off. He had batted for 6 hours and 20 minutes, faced 304 balls and struck 19 boundaries to transform the shape of the match.
With a lead of 185 runs and just over five sessions of play remaining, Essex wasted little time in making inroads into their opponents second innings.
David Masters found an excellent line just outside off and encouraged Paul Horton to flirt with a delivery that ended in the gloves of James Foster to send the opener back to the pavilion having scored two of the seven runs on the board.
Then in what proved to be the final over before lunch, Napier encouraged Angus Robson (21) to dabble outside off and Alastair Cook comfortably held the catch at first slip.
Neil Dexter will resume on 26 as the home side face an uphill battle to save the game.
Day Two | Close of Play Report
Dan Lawrence scored a highly impressive unbeaten century, whilst Ryan ten Doeschate and James Foster both scored half-centuries for Essex on Day Two. Essex’s score of 368 for 8 leave the side in a commanding position at the half-way stage of the Specsavers County Championship clash with Leicestershire at the Fischer County Ground.
Essex will start the penultimate day with a lead of 130 runs and having secured 7 bonus points from the match so far.
Teenager Lawrence battled hard for his fourth century for the County facing 226 balls that included 11 fours, before he arrived at the milestone and when bad light brought a premature close with two overs still remaining. He had reached 123 thanks to a vigilant approach although always quick to pounce on the less deserving delivery.
He featured in two vital century partnerships after arriving at the crease with his side 60 for 4. This was after they had lost Nick Browne to the first ball of the day and then Ravi Bopara for 11.
Tom Westley had scored 35 when he was caught in the deep leaving ten Doeschate to join Lawrence in a stand of 125 in 30 overs before they were parted with the total 193 for 6.
Ten Doeschate played attractively, posting 86 off just 83 balls before he edged a ball to the wicket-keeper but James Foster maintained the improvement in the visitors fortunes with 54 out of 130 before he became another victim of keeper Ned Eckersley.
All the time, the 19 year-old Lawrence was growing in determined authority and by the end of the day, he had faced 254 balls and collected 14 boundaries.
The day began ideally for Leicestershire, with debutant Dieter Klein picking up a wicket immediately when a Yorker uprooted the off stump of Nick Browne to leave Essex 13 for 3.
However on a pitch where the ball continued to nip around, Lawrence proved masterful and with ten Doeschate and Foster offering excellent support, Essex will now have hopes of being able to go on and cause Leicestershire’s batsmen a host of problems for the second time around to put them on course for a fifth Championship win of the season.
Essex Captain Ryan ten Doeschate spoke to EssexTV after Day 2:
Day Two | Tea Report
Ryan ten Doeschate and Dan Lawrence contributed half-centuries in what proved to be a superb afternoon session for Essex who reached the tea interval on 223 for 6 trailing Leicestershire by just 15 runs at Grace Road.
Essex skipper ten Doeschate batted with authority refusing to allow the bowlers to get on top as he and teenager Lawrence resumed the session with their side 102 for 5. Lawrence played a vital support role to ten Doeschate as the pair combined responsible defence with some classic driving on both sides of the wicket.
Ten Doeschate arrived at his half-century from 55 balls which included six fours and immediately added to his boundary count by sending the next delivery from Dieter Klein to the ropes.
The 100 partnership arrived shortly afterwards when ten Doeschate steered a leg side delivery from Neil Dexter to the ropes. All the while, Lawrence was profiting from a responsible approach as the duo eased their side into a more agreeable position.
However, with his score on 86, ten Doeschate edged a delivery from Ben Raine into the gloves of wicket-keeper Ned Eckersley to bring a conclusion to a partnership worth 125 runs in 30 overs.
Lawrence though continued to play solidly and attractively to reach his half-century with a boundary from a stroke that flew over the wicket-keeper’s head and record the sixth four of his innings that had spanned 144 balls at that stage.
James Foster joined Lawrence in a period of re-entrenchment following the loss of ten Doeschate and by tea, the pair had ensured a batting point for the visitors during an unbroken stand of 30 runs. Lawrence is unbeaten on 53 and Foster 11 not out.
Day Two | Lunch Report
A difficult morning for Essex saw them reach 102 for 5 in reply to Leicestershire’s 238 all out at Grace Road in the Specsavers County Championship. Dan Lawrence is unbeaten on 12 and Ryan ten Doeschate will resume after the interval on 24 with the pair having posted 34 runs for the 6th wicket thus far.
That partnership ensured the visitors would avoid the follow-on during a session that saw them lose three wickets including opener Nick Browne to the first ball of the day.
Resuming on 13 for 2, the left-hander lost his off stump when facing Deiter Klein who later added Tom Westley to his list of four victims on Championship debut.
Westley and Ravi Bopara had posted 47 runs for the fourth wicket with Bopara playing watchfully during his one hour stay at the crease that came to a conclusion with his score on 11 when he lost his off stump to Charlie Shreck.
With the wicket still offering movement for the seam bowlers, Westley batted responsibly and collected five fours but with his score on 35 he pulled a ball from Klein into the hands of Paul Horton on the deep square leg boundary.
That left Essex 68 for 5 and still 21 runs away from avoiding the follow-on but Lawrence and ten Doeschate proved up to the task in demand playing resolutely whilst quick to punish the looser delivery. Lawrence produced the shot of the session when straight-driving Klein to the boundary.
At the interval, Essex still trailed by 136 runs.
Day One Review | Chris Silverwood encouraged by start
Day One | Close of Play Report
An absorbing opening day in the Specsavers County Championship promotion clash saw Leicestershire dismissed for 238 at Grace Road. This was before the Dieter Klein struck twice for the home side by removing Alastair Cook for 4 and night-watchman Jamie Porter without score as Essex replied with 13 for 2 by the close.
Porter started and ended the Foxes innings on his way to figures of 4 for 50 having started with two wickets in successive deliveries in the first over of the match before he bowled Dieter Klein to conclude the hosts effort.
The 23 year-old pace bowler made a stunning start trapping Paul Horton in front of his stumps with his 4th delivery before Neil Dexter was struck on the pads to record a first ball duck.
Mark Cosgrove avoided the hat-trick as the ball send down to the fine leg boundary for leg byes and it was the Australian, together with opener Angus Robson that rebuilt the early damage.
Both recorded half-centuries during a partnership of 129 but with the total on 131, Robson, who had just reached a 116-ball 50 with 7 boundaries, lost his middle stump to when facing Graham Napier.
That wicket signalled another downturn in the hosts fortunes as they lost eight wickets for 107 runs.
Former Essex Captain, Mark Pettini came up against his forer teammates was bowled by David Masters for 7. Captain, Mark Cosgrove, who had played and missed at Porter and Masters in the early part of his innings, was bowled for 70 when playing all round a Will Rhodes delivery.
Ravi Bopara trapped Lewis Hill lbw for 36, Ben Raine edged a rising Porter delivery into the gloves of James Foster then Napier added the wicket of Richard Jones with the new ball before Porter knocked back the middle stump of Klein.
Faced with 10 overs, Essex lost Cook who was bowled by Klein, playing his first match for Leicestershire when the England captain was undone by a swinging Yorker. Porter then came in as night-watchman but had still to get off the mark when he was adjudged caught behind facing Raine leaving Nick Browne (2) and Tom Westley (1) to reach the close without further problems.
Day One | Tea Report
A good afternoon session has given Essex the initiative on the opening day of the Championship match with Leicestershire at Grace Road after the Foxes arrived at the tea interval on 183 for 6 having lost four wickets for the addition of 99 runs after lunch.
The post-lunch wickets were shared between Graham Napier, Will Rhodes, David Masters and Tom Westley after the home side had reached 131 for 2.
Angus Robson lost his off stump on 52 when facing Napier to give the all-rounder his 52nd Championship wicket of the summer.
That brought an end to a productive 129 runs third wicket partnership with Robson and Cosgrove both completing half-centuries. Opener Robson had faced 116 balls with seven boundaries in reaching the milestone whilst Cosgrove’s 50 spanned 92 balls and was reached with the seventh boundary of his innings.
Former Essex skipper Mark Pettini had scored seven when David Masters was restored to the attack and breached the batsman’s defenses in his first over as Leicestershire slipped to 143 for 4.
Twelve runs later, the excellent Cosgrove’s innings of 208 minutes and 150 balls was concluded by Rhodes when the batsman played all round a delivery that came back into him.
With tea approaching, skipper Ryan ten Doeschate brought off-spinner Tom Westley into the attack and was rewarded when Ned Eckersley, on 11, played forward and could not prevent the ball from rolling onto his stumps.
At tea, Lewis Hill was unbeaten on 14 and Ben Raine 9 not out.
Day One | Lunch Report
Jamie Porter gave Essex a sensational start with two wickets in as many deliveries in the opening over of the day before Leicestershire recovered to 84 for 2 at lunch on the first day of the Specsavers County Championship promotion clash at Grace Road.
Porter struck with his fourth and fifth deliveries to remove Paul Horton and Neil Dexter for one and a first ball duck respectively as both batsmen were trapped in front of their stumps to leave the second placed home side reeling on 2 for 2.
Mark Cosgrove survived the hat-trick delivery which went for four leg byes and with Angus Robson dropping anchor at the other end, they steadily improved the Foxes fortunes.
On a green-tinged and previously used pitch offering some early seam movement, Cosgrove and Robson posted a 50 runs stand in 16 overs although both survived periods of uncertainty in the initial stages of their innings playing and missing against Porter and his new ball partner David Masters.
Second-placed Leicestershire started the match trailing their visitors by 23 points both teams having four matches to play this season. An uncontested toss saw the home side, who were missing bowler Clint McKay, revived by Australian Cosgrove who started the match with 925 Championship runs to his name and by lunch, he had scored 42 whilst Robson was 32 not out.
At lunch Porter, who has now claimed 43 Championship wickets this summer, had figures of 6-2-14-2.
Essex left Ashar Zaidi and Paul Walter out of their original 13-man squad which saw Will Rhodes given his second game since his on-loan move from Yorkshire.