Warwickshire v Essex: Bowlers on top for leaders
PUBLISHED: 17:37 12 September 2017
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Essex’s leading wicket-takers Jamie Porter and Simon Harmer plundered four more apiece as the Division One leaders dominated bottom-of-the-table Warwickshire on the opening day of their Specsavers County Championship match at Edgbaston.
Porter took 4-62 and Harmer 4-47, taking their season’s haul to 61 and 59 respectively, as the home side was bowled out for 201.
Only opener Dom Sibley, last out for 76 (183 balls, nine fours), showed the necessary resolve and technique against aggressive, accurate bowling which was rewarded by seven lbw dismissals.
Essex reached 69 without loss at the close of the first day of a match which could conclude with them crowned champions and their opponents consigned to relegation.
The last time Essex visited Edgbaston in the championship, in August 2010, a seven-wicket defeat condemned them to the drop. This time a much happier outcome is in prospect.
Essex took up the option to bowl at a brittle Bears batting unit and Porter soon inflicted damage in a superb opening spell of 7-3-15-2.
The 24-year-old trapped Sam Hain and Jonathan Trott lbw to leave the home side tottering on 12-2 and would also have had Sibley, on just two, but Harmer grassed the chance at second slip.
Sibley enjoyed good fortune early on but applied himself diligently to the anchor role while partners came and went.
The opener added 46 in 16 overs with Ian Bell, 52 in 19 with Matt Lamb and 43 in 15 with Chris Woakes.
Bell (37, 52 balls), averaging just 22.89 in the championship this season, batted with returning fluency but fell lbw to Neil Wagner.
Not for the first time this season, Lamb (32, 64 balls) got out just as he had got in, this time edging Sam Cook to the wicketkeeper.
Woakes (22, 52) was pinned lbw on the back foot by Harmer and Essex then truly took control with three wickets in the last 15 balls before tea - all lbw.
Alex Mellor inexplicably left a straight one from Harmer, Porter returned to oust Keith Barker for a duck and Harmer defeated fellow-spinner Patel.
From 187-8 at tea, Warwickshire soon lost debutant Henry Brookes, bowled by Harmer, before the gallant Sibley at least took them to a batting point before edging a big drive at Porter.
Essex then completed pretty much the perfect day as openers Varun Chopra and Nick Browne made largely untroubled progress to the close.