Report: Warwickshire v Essex, County Championship
Warwickshire completed the first victory of their LV= Insurance County Championship title defence by polishing off Essex by ten wickets an hour after lunch on the final day at Edgbaston.
Essex resumed on the last morning on 290 for eight, just 73 ahead and needing something special from their last two wickets to stay in the game.
But they added only another 33 to be all out for 323 and leave the home side a victory target of 107 in more than two sessions. Both wickets fell to concussion substitute Craig Miles who ended with four for 85 while Simon Harmer was left stranded on 75 (156 balls, ten fours, one six).
Openers Alex Davies (65, 131 balls) and Dom Sibley (41, 96) eased Warwickshire to victory with an unbroken stand of 110 in 37.4 overs.
The emphatic win rounded off a strong start to the season for the defending champions after their solid opening-game draw with Surrey.
Essex were left to digest their first defeat of the campaign and also the blow of England batter Dan Lawrence’s hamstring injury which is likely to sideline him for several weeks. Tom Westley’s side will also reflect on some careless first innings batting as the root cause of their defeat.
Miles, who was drafted into the team as concussion sub on Friday afternoon when Liam Norwell took a short ball on the head, proved to have a significant impact on the match. Within minutes of arriving at the ground, summoned from home, he was batting at number 11 and helped Michael Burgess add 64 for the last wicket.
Then he took two important wickets late on the third day and added the final two on the last morning. An inswinger trapped Mark Steketee lbw and an outswinger did for Sam Cook whose edge gave wicketkeeper Burgess his fifth catch of the innings. Harmer ran out of partners, frustratingly as he looked untroubled in the excellent batting conditions.
Chasing 107 in a minimum of 85 overs, Davies and Sibley took their time. They acquired eight runs from the first nine overs as Cook and Shane Snater bowled testing new ball spells, but the true pitch throttled any Essex hopes of triggering the requisite clatter.
Warwickshire eased to 50 in the 23rd over after which Davies advanced to a fluent 50 (107 balls), maintaining his proud record of having scored a half-century in every first class match he has played at Edgbaston (two for Lancashire and now one for his new county).
England batter Dan Lawrence defied Warwickshire despite a hamstring injury as Essex battled to avoid defeat in a gripping LV= Insurance County Championship match at Edgbaston.
Trailing by 217 on first innings, Essex closed the third day on 290 for eight – 73 ahead – with Lawrence, who batted at number seven and with a runner, having bolstered their resistance with a valiant 44 from 105 balls.
The 24-year-old’s movement was clearly restricted by the injury he sustained while chasing a ball in the field on the first day. But his resolve, in alliance with Simon Harmer (60 not out, 129 balls) in a seventh-wicket stand of 81 in 29 overs, kept their team alive.
On a good batting pitch, Warwickshire’s bowling was superbly led Oliver Hannon-Dalby (22-13-36-3) but they missed pace spearhead Liam Norwell, ruled out of the rest of this match by concussion after being hit on the head while batting. A scan has revealed no serious damage for Norwell who will now rest for a few days.
Essex resumed on the third morning on nought for one, under serious pressure, but applied themselves diligently to the rearguard action. Several of their batsmen were guilty of reckless shots in the first innings, but this time they ensured that wickets had to be winkled out.
Two were winkled out in the first session and three in the second. In the morning, Tom Westley, having eked ten runs from 62 minutes, fell to Will Rhodes and Alastair Cook (36, 85 balls, eight fours) to Hannon-Dalby, both caught by wicketkeeper Michael Burgess.
Matt Critchley (49, 82 balls, nine four) batted attractively after lunch until his middle-stump was uprooted by Hannon-Dalby whose figures, at that point, were 13.1-11-9-3. Adam Wheater was bowled by a Henry Brookes no ball on six, but soon skied a good length delivery from the same bowler to mid off.
Lawrence’s entry with a runner showed Essex’s determination to fight every inch of the way. He soon lost Adam Rossington who made a compact half-century (52, 80 balls, ten fours) before nicking an attempted cut at Danny Briggs.
That was 172 for six and Essex were still in deep trouble, but Harmer, perhaps motivated in part by his sloppy dismissal in the first innings, knuckled down assiduously alongside Lawrence. The paired with patience and composure until Lawrence edged concussion substitute Miles to Burgess.
Harmer and Shane Snater then added 46 in ten overs but the latter’s punchy contribution (21, 33 balls) concluded in the day’s penultimate over when he chipped Miles to mid-wicket.
Michael Burgess’ second successive ‘daddy’ ton lifted Warwickshire to a first innings lead of 217 over Essex in a pulsating LV= Insurance County Championship tussle at Edgbaston.
Replying to Essex’s 168, the home side made 385 with Burgess following his 178 against Surrey last week with 170 (217 balls, 20 fours, five sixes).
Along with Matt Lamb (71, 140 balls, ten fours), the wicketkeeper ensured that Essex would start their second innings under serious pressure – which soon told as, given three awkward overs to bat before the close, they lost Nick Browne, to reach stumps at nought for one.
With two powerful teams going toe to toe, the cricket has been absorbing, hard-fought…and bruising. Whether Dan Lawrence, who damaged a hamstring in the field on the first evening, will bat in Essex’s second innings remains to be seen while Bears paceman Liam Norwell is out of the match, concussed after taking a Mark Steketee lifter on the head.
Craig Miles has replaced his former Gloucestershire team-mate for the rest of the game as a concussion substitute.
After Warwickshire resumed on the second morning on 76 for two, Essex had a dream start when Dom Sibley (33, 80 balls) edged the first ball of the day from Shane Snater to wicketkeeper Adam Wheater. Snater soon struck again when Will Rhodes was well held by Simon Harmer above his head at second slip.
When Sam Hain’s obdurate 29 (107 balls) was ended by an edge to the keeper off Steketee, at 124 for five Essex scented an opportunity, but Lamb and Burgess batted positively to add 113 in 36 overs.
Lamb maintained his first class career average of 70-plus against Essex before a fine ball from Sam Cook found his middle stump. The impressive Cook, who ended with three for 72, soon had Danny Briggs caught at slip before Henry Brookes chipped Steketee to mid-on and Norwell took a rising delivery from the Aussie on the head and was forced to retire hurt.
Burgess responded to the arrival of number 11 Olly Hannon-Dalby with a blitz of four successive fours off Steketee which took him to a superb century and his team past 300. After Simon Harmer trapped Hannon-Dalby lbw, with Norwell incapacitated, Miles went in as concussion sub – and proved a highly effective one.
As Burgess climbed into spectacular attack, the last-wicket added 64 in seven overs to turn the lead from handy to significant. Burgess was finally castled by Steketee who finished with four for 130.
The scoreboard pressure then brought an immediate victim when Browne edged Hannon-Dalby’s seventh ball to Sam Hain at second slip….Essex have a lot of batting to do to.
Champions Warwickshire enjoyed a strong first day of their LV= Insurance County Championship match with Essex after the visitors’ decision to bat first backfired at Edgbaston.
Essex chose to bat on a good-looking pitch but were bowled out for 168 as only Tom Westley (80, 176 balls, 11 fours) showed the requisite patience against an accurate home attack.
From a relatively solid 98 for two just after lunch, the visitors suffered a post-lunch implosion of five wickets for 11 runs in 43 balls. Seam bowlers Olly Hannon-Dalby and Liam Norwell shared five wickets before Danny Briggs did a consummate spinner’s job by briskly taking out the lower order with four for 31.
Warwickshire’s batsmen were then made to work hard in reply but they reached the close on 76 for two with Dom Sibley unbeaten on 33 (79 balls).
Essex, unchanged from the team that beat Somerset at Taunton last week, did not hesitate to bat against a Warwickshire attack without injured England pair Olly Stone and Chris Woakes, but soon lost both openers. Nick Browne edged Hannon-Dalby behind, then Alastair Cook (23, 46 balls) was lbw to Will Rhodes’s sixth ball.
Dan Lawrence started like a train, hitting five fours from his first 14 balls, then lost steam in reaching 30 from 62 and was derailed by a full-length Hannon-Dalby delivery which eluded an airy drive to hit off-stump.
That triggered a collapse accelerated by two careless dismissals as Matt Critchley nicked a slash at Hannon-Dalby and Adam Rossington lifted Norwell to cover. Simon Harmer was also culpable, missing an across-the-line swat at Briggs after Adam Wheater nicked a good one from Norwell.
Shane Snater lifted Briggs for six but sent an attempted repeat into the hands of deep mid-wicket. Warwick-born Aussie Mark Steketee hung around to helped Lawrence add 30 but then played back fatally to the spinner who polished off the innings when Lawrence tried to land one in the Family Stand but was calmly taken by Matt Lamb eight and a half inches inside the rope.
Warwickshire’s reply was given a lively launch by debutant Alex Davies (22, 21 balls) but Essex hit back well as Davies edged Sam Cook to second slip and Rob Yates was pinned lbw by Steketee.
The seamers, led by the impressive Snater, bowled well and got a few past the bat in an intense and high-quality last hour but Sibley and Sam Hain survived to add an unbroken 30 in 16 overs.
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