Essex crushed by champions elect Surrey
- Credit: PA Archive/PA Images
Surrey (351 & 2-0) beat Essex (126 & 226) by 10 wickets Surrey’s inexorable surge to the Specsavers County Championship title continued apace at Chelmsford where they beat the team they are about to depose by 10 wickets inside three days at Chelmsford.
It was Surrey’s eighth Championship win in a row – the first time they have done so since 1999, when they also claimed the title – and they now hold a 43-point advantage over Somerset with three games to play.
Barring an unforeseen disaster, they look certain to secure their first Championship in 16 years at Worcester next week.
Rikki Clarke made a significant all-round contribution in Surrey’s 10th success of the season. After a swashbuckling 56 with the bat, he followed his four-wicket haul in the first innings with four more in the second for match figures of eight for 75. It took him to 41 in the Championship this summer.
Ravi Bopara clattered Tom Curran through cow corner, past Dean Elgar’s despairing dive, for the boundary that took Essex past the 225 required to make Surrey bat for a second time. One run later Sam Cook was bowled by Amar Virdi to set Surrey two to win.
Bopara’s unbeaten 81 from 122 balls delayed the inevitable until shortly after 4pm, when Rory Burns flicked Simon Harmer’s fourth ball through midwicket for two runs.
Bopara put on 53 with Michael Pepper for the sixth wicket – Essex’s highest stand of the match – and 51 with Jamie Porter in a spirited ninth-wicket partnership.
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But it just wasn’t enough, as the defending champions were forced to hand the torch to the team who will now surely replace them atop the county cricket ladder.