Essex’s Harmer happy with early turn
PUBLISHED: 08:10 21 April 2018 | UPDATED: 08:10 21 April 2018
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Essex’s Simon Harmer was delighted to see the ball spinning so much at Chelmsford as 18 wickets fell on the first day of their match with Lancashire.
Put into bat, the champions were dismissed for just 150 thanks to some late blows from Peter Siddle, who top scored with an unbeaten 33.
But Jamie Porter made early inroads into Lancashire’s top order, following his 75-wicket haul last season with 4-25 in 11 overs.
And South African Harmer, having taken 72 scalps in 2017, claimed 4-44 at the other end as the visitors closed on 141-8 to leave the match nicely poised going into day two on Saturday.
Harmer said: “The ball was turning a lot, as much as it was turning for me towards the end of last season. If that is how we’re going to go at the start the season, then I’m looking forward to what lies ahead.
“The wicket was a lot drier than we expected it was going to be with the amount of rain there was through the winter. The first outing at Chelmsford we thought there would still be quite a bit of moisture, but it was nice and dry and this weather is helping that. It’s been a good start to the season and a good fightback by us.
“They bowled well, we didn’t play too many bad shots and there weren’t too many soft dismissals. I didn’t think when we walked out to bat in the morning that we’d be rolled for 150. So it was extremely important that we came out and took wickets early. As usual ‘Ports’ stood up and ripped open their batting order.
“We all knew the evening was going to be a massive session in the game. If they’d got a big lead it would have put us massively on the back foot in the game on a wicket that was seaming and spinning.
“It’s important that we go into the third innings level-pegging and get the two wickets quickly. We don’t want them getting 50 0r 60 runs ahead. Then hopefully we can put our hands up in the fourth innings.”
Lancashire’s Graham Onions, set to join Jordan Clark at the crease at the start of play, added: “They were quite decent conditions to bowl in and we put the ball in the right areas and both teams did it pretty well. It’s going to be a big day for us. We need to try and get as many runs as possible and then try and put them under pressure.
“I think potentially they could have been about 120 all out. They took the attack to us towards the end, and fair play to them.
“If we can bowl well second innings and try and keep them down to a similar score we feel we can chase that down. But if we don’t turn up and try and score runs or put the ball in the right area we’re going to be in a position where we’re going to be chasing a rather big total. So we’ll try and put them under pressure as quickly as possible.
“We want to try and get as many as we can. One ahead is better than nothing. If we can push towards 20, 30, 40 runs that will be great. But we’ve got to be realistic as well. Just play every ball on merit and try and put them under pressure.
“My mindset will be to be positive without playing too many aggressive shots and try and block up an end for Jordan Clark. He’s a very good batter in his own right and if I can bat for 50-60 balls, even if I don’t score any runs, Jordan at the other end faces 50-60 he could be 70 not out. That’s my goal.”