Warwickshire in control despite late Essex rally

Brian Jeeves

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

Warwickshire 397 and 43 for five (17.3 overs)

Essex 162

Warwickshire won the toss and elected to bat

Warwickshire lead Essex by 278 runs with five second-innings wickets standing

Warwickshire will enter day three of their Vitality County Championship Division One encounter with Essex holding the upper hand, despite a spirited fightback from the home side late in day two.

Ed Barnard and Michael Burgess had given the visitors the initiative, each scoring centuries as Warwickshire recovered from 104 for six to post 397.

Barnard’s 165 came off 285 balls during a 407-minute stint at the crease. Meanwhile, Burgess contributed 108 from 170 – Their 209-run seventh-wicket stand carried Warwickshire towards a commanding position, despite the efforts of Shane Snater (25-8-58-3) and Simon Harmer (30-5-93-3).

The visitors’ bowling attack took control, with Che Simmons leading the way with three for 12, while Rob Yates had 3/27 as Essex were skittled for 162. Jordan Cox top-scored for Essex with 47 – his side 235 runs in arrears.

But Warwickshire didn’t force the follow-on. Essex saw a glimmer of hope. Jamie Porter claimed two wickets as the visitors were reduced to 43 for five at the close, a lead of 278.

Speaking to Martin Smith from the ECB Reporters network, Essex Head Coach, Anthony McGrath said: “It’s been a very strange game so far. It’s the first game on the hybrid pitch but to be honest, I think it’s been pretty flat. You probably expect it to be at its best on day one and two but 19 wickets have fallen today somehow – and I’m not sure how – and yesterday I think that we were in a bit of a false position when they were 104 for six and we put two chances down.

 “Then they put on an excellent partnership but I think if you get in on that wicket, good batters should score runs on it. I think it’s been one of those games where batters have found ways to get out. We don’t normally have so many batters making mistakes but that can happen and that’s cricket. What you have to do is to react and I think that we’ve reacted really well.

 “Summing it up, yes, we’ve given ourselves a big mountain to climb but that last hour of the day which has left them 43-5 has given us a chance. The pitch is still good and we’ve got to try and keep chipping away to get the remaining wickets and keep our target as low as possible and back ourselves to chase whatever total we are set.

 “If you start getting over the 400 mark it’s going to be tricky and fourth innings is always tricky anyway. If we are honest, we have given ourselves a big task but in the eight years I’ve been here, we’ve come out of worse scrapes than this. There’s no doubt our team will keep believing and if we get players in and get partnerships going, you never know.”

Play resumes on Sunday 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, Dan Lawrence followed his first innings tally of 84, finishing day two unbeaten on 86 as Surrey seized control against Worcestershire at the Kia Oval.

Meanwhile, in Division Two, Mark Stoneman hit 129 as Middlesex continued to build a sizable lead of Glamorgan at Sophia Gardens.

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Brian Jeeves

Email: sport@yellowad.co.uk