MATCH REPORT | Essex v Warwickshire


Essex team | Alastair Cook (26), Nick Browne (10), Tom Westley (21), Varun Chopra (6), Ravi Bopara (25), Ryan ten Doeschate* (27), James Foster+ (7), Simon Harmer (11), Paul Walter (22), Neil Wagner (13), Aaron Beard (14).

Warwickshire team | Andrew Umeed (23), Ian Westwood (22), Jonathan Trott (9), Ian Bell (4), Sam Hain (16), Tim Ambrose (11), Rikki Clarke (81), Keith Barker (13), Jeetan Patel (5), Boyd Rankin (30), Sunny Singh (58).

Umpires | N.L. Bainton & N.J. Llong

Toss | Essex won the toss and chose to bat

Result | Essex won by an innings and 164 runs

Day Four | Match Highlights

Day Four Reaction | Simon Harmer ends with 14 wickets after spinning through the Warwickshire batsmen

Day Four | Close of Play Report

Simon Harmer blasted a massive hole in the Warwickshire batting at Chelmsford to take the first 14-wicket haul of his career and move Essex clear at the top of the Specsavers County Championship with their fourth win of the season.

Harmer took eight second-innings wickets for 36 runs, career-best figures for an innings, to finish with figures of 14 for 128. He took seven wickets on an overcast fourth day as Warwickshire collapsed alarmingly as they chased 258 to make Essex bat again. The bottom club fell 164 runs short and suffered their four innings defeat of the season.

The South African spinner was almost unplayable on a worn pitch that was also used for Essex’s Royal London Cup semi-final defeat by Nottinghamshire on Friday night. With five fielders surrounding each Warwickshire lamb to the slaughter, there were enough appeals to have ended the game long before the close quarter of an hour after a late lunch at 2.17pm.

Neil Wagner, playing his last game for the county before he steps aside to accommodate Mohammad Amir as overseas player, claimed the first wicket of the day before Harmer took centre stage.

The New Zealander Test seamer removed Ian Bell in the eighth over of the morning to reduce Warwickshire to 47 for three. Bell had edged one just short of Alastair Cook at first slip before he got a thinner touch to give the diving James Foster the catch.

Before he left the field at lunch, with Warwickshire 90 for eight, Wagner received a signed magnum of champagne to acknowledge his sterling efforts in helping Essex make a sensational start to their first season in Division One.

Harmer bowled 39 overs, almost unchanged, on the day before, and entered the fray on day four after Bell’s departure. With his sixth ball had Andrew Umeed moving back indecisively and falling lbw. Two Harmer balls later, Sam Hain’s attempt to check the sweep he planned resulted in him popping up a catch to Ryan ten Doeschate at short leg.

Harmer was as parsimonious as ever, though when he gave one a bit of width, Rikki Clarke drove crisply through the covers for four. With Tim Ambrose, Clarke put a brake on the Essex charge for 16 overs before another clatter of wickets.

Clarke went controversially to a ball that pitched well outside off-stump and didn’t look as if it would disturb the stumps as it turned to rap him on his pad. Clarke looked aghast at the decision; Ambrose threw his bat to the ground in frustration. Next ball, Keith Barker tried to paddle the delivery away, got a top edge and was caught behind by Foster.

Jeetan Patel, who hit a run-a-ball 71 the previous evening, took successive boundaries off Harmer before he became the latest lbw victim on his back foot to another that spun in.

Boyd Rankin was Harmer’s 13th scalp of the match when he completely misjudged a slow full-toss and was an embarrassed lbw. Sunny Singh did not last long, stretching forward and edging to Cook at slip to complete a dream match for Harmer.

Day Four | Lunch Report

Simon Harmer blasted through the Warwickshire batting before lunch at Chelmsford to take the first 12-wicket haul of his career and put Essex on the brink of a fourth Specsavers County Championship win of the season.

Harmer, who took six for 92 in the first innings, went to the interval with six more at a personal cost of 34 runs. The South African had taken the last five wickets to fall as Warwickshire collapsed alarmingly and faced their fourth innings defeat of the season.

Warwickshire started the morning needing to reach 258 to make Essex bat again. They finished a session extended by 15 minutes on 90 for eight with the coach revving up for the return journey up the motorway.

Ian Bell was the first to go, the only wicket of the morning not to fall to Harmer. The Warwickshire captain had edged one just short of Alastair Cook at first slip before he got a thinner touch to the last ball of Neil Wagner’s over to give the diving James Foster the catch.

Harmer entered the fray after eight overs in the morning and with his sixth ball had Andrew Umeed moving back indecisively and falling lbw. Two Harmer balls later and Sam Hain’s attempt to check the sweep he planned resulted in him popping up a catch to Ryan ten Doeschate at short leg.

Harmer was as parsimonious as ever, though when he gave one a bit of width, Rikki Clarke drove crisply through the covers for four. With Tim Ambrose, Clarke put a brake on the Essex charge for 16 overs.

Harmer removed Clarke controversially to a ball that pitched well outside off-stump and turned to rap him on his pad. Clarke looked aghast at the decision; Ambrose threw his bat to the ground in frustration.

Next ball, Keith Barker tried to paddle the delivery away, got a top edge and was caught behind by Foster. Jeetan Patel took successive boundaries off Harmer before he became the latest lbw victim.

At lunch Harmer had bowled 15 overs in the morning and taken five wickets for 31 runs.

Day Three | Close of Play Report

Simon Harmer produced his best figures for Essex as they took full control of their Specsavers County Championship Match against Warwickshire at The Cloudfm County Ground.

The off-spinner toiled away to claim 6 for 92 in 45.5 overs as the visitors were bowled out for 288 and forced to follow on still 258 runs behind.

Harmer was to claim another wicket, that of Jonathan Trott, with the last ball of the day as Warwickshire ended the day on 27-2 in their second innings.

Harmer’s effort was a magnificent one in sweltering conditions that left Essex thinking in terms of a victory that would consolidate their position at the top of the table.

Only Jeetan Patel carried the fight to Harmer, twice despatching him for six while scoring 36 of his runs against the spinner.

But Harmer was to have the final word by accepting a return catch to end his knock of 71 runs from 72 balls and bring the innings to an end.

Indeed, Harmer picked up the last three wickets in the space of seven deliveries, starting by ending the most productive stand of the innings. That’s when he trapped Keith Barker lbw for 24 after he and Patel had put on 76 for the eigth wicket.

Barker needed 74 balls to gather his runs but that was lightening fast when compared to the effort of the normally free-scoring, Rikki Clarke. His 7 runs spanned 45 deliveries and he needed 30 balls to get of the mark.

In the end Harmer was to put him out of his misery with another lbw decision.

Warwickshire had begun the third day on 60-2, and needed something special from the two form test stars, Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell. But the visiting side was to suffer the shock of losing Trott in the day’s opening over when Neil Wagner had him caught by Varun Chopra, his 200th catch in first-class cricket.

Bell made 32 before Harmer had him taken low down at slip by Alastair Cook to end a stand of 66 with Samuel Hain who went on to make 58, containing eight boundaries, before Walter had him caught behind.

But it was Patel who produced the most entertaining innings of the day, as he gathered his focus to go with two huge sixes off Harmer.

However, the day belonged to Harmer as Warwickshire ended the day still requiring 231 to avoid an innings defeat with eight wickets remaining. When they went in again Ian Westwood was caught behind by Walter with only 4 on the board before Harmer trapped Trott leg before without offering a stroke on the very last ball of the day.

Day Three | Tea Report

Hain completed his half-century immediately after Lunch, it embracing 93 deliveries and containing eight fours.

But having advanced to 58 he was caught by Foster to provide Paul Walter with his first success.

With the total on 178, Essex picked up their sixth wicket when Tim Ambrose slashed at a wide delivery from Wagner and was superbly caught by a diving Varun Chopra for 25.

Keith Barker quickly opened his account with a boundary but Rikki Clarke needed 30 deliveries to get off the mark.

But having crawled to seven from 45 balls he fell LBW to Harmer to leave Warwickshire in even deeper trouble at 192/7.

Jeetan Patel and Barker did steer the visitors to their first batting point in the 88th over as they carried the total to 206 by Tea, at which point they still trailed by 335.

Day Three | Lunch Report

Essex strengthened their grip against Warwickshire by claiming 2 wickets before lunch in their Specsavers County Championship Division One game in Chelmsford.

The visitors had resumed on 60-2 in response to a total of 541-9 declared and still facing the task to reach 392 to avoid the follow-on. But the break arrived with Warwickshire 159-4 and Ian Bell and Jonathan Trott, their two most accomplished batsmen, falling in the opening session.

In fact, Trott departed in the day’s first over when he pulled Neil Wagner into the hands of Varun Chopra, whilst Bell departed having shared a stand of 66 with Samuel Hain prodded a ball into the hands of Alastair Cook to become Simon Harmer’s second success of the innings.

Bell made 32 but it was Hain who looked the more assured batsman. He drove Paul Walter for two fours in an over and punished Harmer through mid-wicket as the 50 stand arrive in 16 overs.

Hain reached the lunch interval within one run of his half-centur, while Tim Ambrose is due to resume on 15 not out.

LISTEN | James Foster reflects on scoring 121 on Day 2 against Warwickshire

Day Two | Close of Play Report

Ravi Bopara and James Foster both collected long-awaited and emotional centuries after compiling a record sixth-wicket stand of 229 as Essex kept Warwickshire in the field for more than five sessions at a sweltering Chelmsford.
Bopara had gone nearly three years without a Specsavers County Championship ton to his name; by the time he was out just after tea, having batted for eight hours, he was within eight runs of a double-century.
Foster was even more demonstrative when he reached his first three-figure total for nearly 13 months – he leapt in the air and pumped his fist three times in the direction of the home changing room. It was a perfect repost after he had been ousted from wicketkeeping duties for the first four Championship games of the season by the return to the county of Adam Wheater.
Foster’s 66-over stand with Bopara was a record for an Essex sixth-wicket against Warwickshire – beating the 140 by Keith Fletcher and Allan Border at Edgbaston in 1988. It enabled the Division One leaders to declare five overs post-tea, just after the third new-ball had been taken, on 541 for nine.
By the close, Warwickshire were 56 for two, still 332 short of their follow-on target as they attempt to avoid a fourth innings defeat in seven Championship matches this summer.
Bopara’s previous century had been completed on July 1, 2014, against Gloucestershire, also at Chelmsford, and he had three times been out in the nineties, twice of 99, in the last 12 months alone. A few minutes before noon yesterday he clipped Jeetan Patel past backward point for the single that took him to the 27th first-class century of his career. At that point he had been at the crease for 221 balls.
When he went to a tired-looking heave-ho against Patel 158 balls later, playing all around it, he had hit 16 fours and three sixes, two of them straight and long from part-time spinner Andrew Umeed’s only over.
Foster, meanwhile, had not claimed a century since his 113 against Northamptonshire last May, but outscored Bopara for much of their time together. He brushed off a nasty blow to the side of his helmet from a Boyd Rankin bouncer by hooking Rikki Clarke for the four that took him to a 159-ball century. By the time he was caught at wide mid-on by a tumbling Keith Barker for 121, he had faced 182 balls and hit 16 fours and a towering six over long-leg.
After Foster’s departure, Warwickshire claimed three wickets for 32 as the Essex tail joined Bopara in adding quick runs towards the declaration. Sunny Singh raced in from the long-on boundary to dismiss Paul Walter for a bright 16 before trapping Simon Harmer lbw. Patel bowled Bopara to claim his fourth wicket in a marathon spell of 45 overs and season’s best figures of four for 138. Neil Wagner’s 25-ball cameo at the end left him 24 not out.
That it is fast becoming Bopara’s match was made apparent when his underarm throw from short extra cover accounted for opener Andrew Umeed to make the first dent in Warwickshire’s response. Five overs, and three runs later, Alastair Cook snapped up Ian Westwood low down at slip to give Harmer his 20th Championship wicket since the former South African Test spinner’s arrival on a Kolpak contract in the spring.

Day Two | Tea Report

Bopara and Foster continued to heap further misery on the toiling Warwickshire attack at the start of the afternoon session.

Jonathan Trott was punished for two offside boundaries while Foster drove Barker through the covers.

A pulled four against Clarke carried Foster to a deserved century, it arriving from 159 deliveries and containing 14 fours.

The next milestone was the 200 partnership which consumed 61 overs, immediately after which Foster on-drove Clarke for six.

The 450 was reached in the 148th over during which Bopara raced to 150 including 15 fours and one six.

The partnership was finally broken after it had produced 229, Foster skying Trott to Barker at mid-on.

Of those, he made 121 while setting a new record sixth wicket partnership against Warwickshire.

When Andrew Umeed joined the attack, Bopara straight drove him for two sixes in an over. Paul Walter made a brisk 16 before being caught by Sunny Singh.

With the addition of a single, Simon Harmer fell LBW trying to reverse sweep and Essex reached Tea on a total of 5151 for 8.

Day Two | Lunch Report

Ravi Bopara completed his first Championship century since 2014 as leaders Essex continued to make encouraging progress in their Division One duel against Warwickshire at Chelmsford.

He reached three figures for the first time since the match against Gloucestershire when he pushed a comfortable single against off-spinner Jeetan Patel.

Bopara had resumed overnight on 84 from a total of 263 for 5 and went on to complete his 100 from 221 balls with nine fours and a six.

He was still defying all attempts to remove him as he arrived at Lunch on 111 and Essex advanced to 351 for 5.

Keeping him company throughout the morning session was James Foster who, having resumed on 13, reached the interval on 72.

Foster’s first half-century of the summer consumed 96 deliveries and contained six fours, and his next boundary brought up the century stand. It had taken 35 overs.

The partnership has so far yielded 124 while Bopara had batted for nearly five hours and faced 273 balls.

Day One Reaction | Ravi Bopara takes command with the bat on Day One

Day One | Close of Play Report

Half-centuries from Nick Browne and Ravi Bopara helped table-topping Essex post a total of 263-5 on the opening day of the Specsavers County Championship Division One clash against Warwickshire at Chelmsford.

The run scoring throughout the day wasn’t as fast as maybe hoped from the Essex support, but a gritty pitch meant it was tough to score quickly and no-one could doubt the determination from the Essex batsmen, against bowlers who gave very little away.

Browne in particular had to dig deep, after Essex won the toss and elected to bat, and he needed 47 delvieries to move into double figures with his total of 84, his best of the season coming from 244 balls.

The left hander departed in the the final session, bowled by Rikki Clarke, after an innings which included nine boundaries.

Bopara reached the close of 84 not out with the innnings spanning 178 thus far. With Browne, he shared a 4th wicket partnership of 127 runs in 49 overs after they had joined forces on 96-3.

It was Jeetan Patel who captured the first two wickets of the match in the space of three overs .

First he ended an opening partnership by trapping Alastair Cook lbw for 39 with the total on 60 in the 24th overs, before having Tom Westley snapped up by Rikki Clarke at slip eight overs later.

Varun Chopra was the next to depart when he was bowled for 14 against his former Club, to paceman Boyd Rankin.

That brought Ravi Bopara to help Browne take Essex to beyond the 200 matrk and a first batting point before the latter’s painstaking vigilance was ended by Clarke.

Clarke followed up that success by removing Ryan ten Doeschate lbw for 4, leaving Bopara and James Foster (14*) to see through to the close.

Day One | Tea Report

Jeetan Patel was rested after lunch despite his 11 over spell costing just 28 runs but his replacement, Boyd Rankin bowled with immediate reward when he removed Varun Chopra with his third delivery.

Chopra committed the cardinal sin of being bowled without offering a stroke for 14.

Rankin’s new spell lasted just three overs, as Jeetan Patel returned to the attack, much to the delight of Ravi Bopara. He straight drove the spinner for six and also drove him for four to provide much needed impetus to the innings.

Nick Browne was to continue his cautious approach and eventually reached his 50 from 161 balls by forcing Patel to mid-wicket for three.

It was the third successive match he had recorded a half-century and by tea had moved to 58 from a total of 160 for 3 in 64 overs. Bopara reached the interval on 35, an innings that so far spanned 77 balls.

During the break, Essex supporters was introduced to fast bowled Mohammad Amir who was one of the Pakistan heroes in their Champions Trophy victory over India 24 hours earlier. He will be available for the county’s next game against Middlesex in a week’s time.

Day One | Lunch Report

Off-spinner Jeetan Patel halted Essex’s slow but encouraging progress after they had won the toss in the Specsavers County Championship Division One clash against Warwickshire at Chelmsford.

The leaders had moved to 60 when he trapped Alastair Cook LBW for 39, and eight runs later had Tom Westley caught at first slip.

Nick Browne, despite surviving a life and one or two other narrow escapes reached Lunch with 25 from a total of 73 for 2.

The accuracy of Keith Barker and Rikki Clarke presented very few opportunities to attack and it was not until the seventh over that the total moved into double figures.

Browne’s off driven four against Barker was responsible for that, but generally caution was adopted by both batsmen as they sought to put the innings on a solid foundation.

Clarke was rested after conceding only seven runs in five overs while Barker was given a breather after eight overs costing 22.

Although Cook produced a vintage square drive against Rankin that raced to the boundary, it was Browne who enjoyed the lions share of the strike in the first hour or so.

It was not until his 47th delivery that he moved into double figures but have made 16 he received a lifeline as Rankin dropped a difficult chance off the bowling of Patel.

Patel went on to break the stand when he trapped Cook LBW and repeated the trick again just before the interval having Westley caught by Clarke in the slips.

Chopra survived a couple of scares but reached the break on 4 not out with Browne on 25.