Barnard and Burgess rescue Bears

Brian Jeeves

Essex v Warwickshire – Specsavers County Championship Division One – Cloud County Ground – Day One – Report

Warwickshire 308 for six (96.0 overs)

Essex (yet to bat)

Warwickshire won the toss and elected to bat

Ed Barnard and Michael Burgess’ unbroken 204-run seventh wicket stand provided Warwickshire with a tonic on day one of their Specsavers County Championship Division One clash with Essex at the Cloud County Ground.

The sunny conditions drew a decent crowd to Chelmsford, who witnessed the Essex attack snatch the early initiative as Warwickshire were reduced to 76 for five at lunch.

When Sam Cook trapped Jacob Bethell lbw leaving the visitors on 104/6, the host appeared to be in the ascendancy. However, Barnard and Burgess staged a rescue act of sizable proportions, the former finishing the day on 115* from 237 balls, while the latter was on 105* – carrying Warwickshire to 308 for six and perhaps handing them the upper hand.

Shane Snater had figures of 21-7-42-2, while Cook – tipped by some to replace Jimmy Anderson in the England fold – had 20-2-75-2. Meanwhile, Simon Harmer took four catches, including Dan Mousley off his own bowling.

Speaking to Martin Smith from the ECB Reporters network, Mick Lewis, Essex’s bowling coach said: The way we started was pretty good, four quick early wickets and then a couple in the middle but to their credit, they stuck at it and batted pretty well.

“I thought we were a little bit unlucky, particularly in that last session and a half. But it looks a pretty good wicket.

“Given the way the wicket played, it was extremely important that we got those early breakthroughs because it is a good wicket. We know what it’s like here if you get decent first innings runs.

“So, it’s been a good day but not a great day for us. As I said they batted pretty well but the boys stuck to their guns and created a few chances, a couple went down which was unfortunate but to their credit, our boys stuck at it.

“When we bat, we’ve got to apply ourselves in the way that Burgess and Barnard did late in that second session and in the last session. They were pretty good. They’ve probably got their noses in front a little bit because when we have sides four down, we back ourselves to knock a side over for less than 200. But it didn’t happen today but tomorrow is a new day.

“We don’t know how the wicket will play overall because it’s a hybrid wicket and has never been used for first-class cricket before. So we don’t know what it’s going to do, how it’s going to play so it’s an unknown for everyone.

“It will be interesting to see how it plays over four days. Having the sun on it today, it could break up, it could keep low or it could just bind together and be a good cricket wicket.”

Play resumes on Saturday at 11am.

Essex: D Elgar, FIN Khushi, NLJ Browne, T Westley (Capt), JM Cox, MJJ Critchley, MS Pepper (WK), SR Harmer, S Snater, SJ Cook, JA Porter

Warwickshire: RM Yates, AL Davies (Capt), WMH Rhodes, SR Hain, EG Barnard, DR Mousley, JG Bethell, MGK Burgess (WK), MD Rae, CB Simmons, OJ Hannon-Dalby

Umpires: JD Middlebrook and BJ Debenham

Scorers: P Parkinson and MD Smith

Match Referee: JJ Swift

Elsewhere in Division One, Joe Leach and Matthew Waite took three wickets apiece as Worcestershire dismissed Surrey at the Kia Oval for 213. Dan Lawrence top-scoring for the home side with 84.

However, the Surrey attack made swift inroads, reducing Worcestershire to 112 for seven at the close. Dan Worrall returned figures of 3/17 as the champions took charge.

In Division Two, Glamorgan’s encounter with Middlesex moved along quickly with the home side bowled out for 183. Tom Helm took 4/44 for the visitors.

Responding, Middlesex were 62 without loss at the close, with Sam Robson on 18* and Mark Stoneman 43.


Brian Jeeves