Essex closing in on success at Derbyshire

PUBLISHED: 18:57 15 August 2016 | UPDATED: 18:57 15 August 2016

Paul Walter of Essex is congratulated by team-mates after taking a wicket at Derbyshire (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

Paul Walter of Essex is congratulated by team-mates after taking a wicket at Derbyshire (pic: Gavin Ellis/TGS Photo)

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Late wickets give Division Two leaders a lift

Essex put themselves into a strong position to claim victory at Derbyshire on day three of their Specsavers County Championship contest.

After dismissing the home side cheaply in the morning session and enforcing the follow-on, they were frustrated at times, but two late wickets left the Division Two leaders needing five more on the final day to potentially wrap up an innings success.

Derbyshire began the day on 116-6, after Essex’s Nick Browne had become only the fourth person in history to score two double centuries against the same opponents in the same season in his side’s 530-9 declared on Sunday.

Paul Walter conceded two boundaries to Alex Mellor in his first over, with Jamie Porter also hit for four by Matt Critchley.

And the seventh-wicket pair eventually put on 70, before Graham Napier came into the attack in place of Porter and took two wickets in two balls.

Napier tempted Mellor to edge behind to James Foster, before bowling Tom Milnes first ball to leave the hosts 150-8.

And Ravi Bopara (2-15) wrapped up the innings on 165 when having Critchley caught at gully by Jaik Mickleburgh and bowling last man Callum Parkinson.

Napier finished with 4-28, while Walter took 3-44 on his first-class debut, and Essex captain Ryan ten Doeschate enforced the follow-on with Derbyshire still a whopping 365 runs in arrears.

The home side reached lunch on 31-0, but Napier made the breakthrough again in the afternoon session as Ben Slater edged to Tom Westley at second slip with the score on 75.

Former Essex opener Billy Godleman reached his half-century from 83 balls, with 10 fours, and was unbeaten on 78 as his side got to tea on 121-1, still trailing by 244 runs.

But Walter ended a 76-run stand in the final session when he tempted Alex Hughes to edge behind to Foster, before Godleman completed his century from 151 balls with a six and 14 fours.

No sooner had he reached the landmark, though, and Godleman was trapped leg before by Napier to make it 167-3, but Wayne Madsen went on to become the first batsman in Division Two to reach 1,000 runs this season as Derbyshire dug in.

Madsen fell late on, though, as he edged to Mickleburgh in the slip cordon to give Will Rhodes his first wicket for Essex and Bopara dismissed Neil Broom very next ball, as the batsman played on to his own stumps, to make it 210-5.

Three more runs were added before stumps, but Derbyshire need to score a further 152 runs to make Essex bat again on the final day, with the visitors firm favourites to secure victory and maintain their hold on top spot.

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