Westley admits Essex were outplayed with bat and ball in Notts loss
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Stand-in Essex captain Tom Westley admitted his side were outplayed with both bat and ball as they lost to Nottinghamshire in the County Championship.
Essex went undefeated through their title-winning 2017 season, but have now lost successive Championship games at The Cloudfm County Ground after Nottinghamshire required just an hour and three-quarters to take the six wickets they needed.
The hosts paid for another top-order batting collapse that had left them 26 for three inside 11 overs and facing an uphill struggle the lower-order were never going to be able to meet.
Westley admitted: “We’ve been outplayed. They played better cricket than us in the last four days. It’s bitterly disappointing. We set ourselves hard standards, but unfortunately we weren’t good enough in this game. It’s been a good cricket wicket, but we didn’t bat well enough on it and they bowled better than us on it. There are no excuses about the wicket. We didn’t play as well as we can.
“That final partnership of around 60 did take it away from us. Well played to him [Tom Moores], he was obviously struggling with an injury. He kept hitting sixes – at one point we had everyone on the boundary and he kept hitting it over us, which was frustrating.
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“As a team we have struggled and we’re disappointed in ourselves because we set high standards and high hopes at the start of the year. It’s very important that we all stick together as a unit. Because we have done it before in the past we know we’re all capable. We need to turn the corner and start delivering now rather than speaking about it.”
Ravi Bopara was the first to go on the final morning as he departed for 39 from 62 balls, caught behind pushing forward to Matt Milnes and giving the substitute wicketkeeper Tom Keast his first victim in first-class cricket, just in time for his 20th birthday on Monday. Keast continued behind the stumps in the absence of Tom Moores, who twisted his ankle before the start of play on the third day.
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The injury had not stopped Moores batting with a runner and smashing 87 off 80 balls that took the game even further away from Essex during the previous afternoon.
Keast, who plays for Notts 2nd XI but is not on staff, took his second catch in the next over when Jamie Porter’s 27-ball nightwatchman’s stint was ended by one that got up from Luke Fletcher. Porter, who did not register a run after going in at No6, had earlier seen out a maiden against Fletcher without undue concern.
Adam Wheater and Simon Harmer put up a measure of resistance with a stand of 20 runs in six overs before Harry Gurney left Harmer’s stumps in disarray with his first ball of the morning.
Wheater showed a degree of aggression when he hooked Milnes for four, but was Gurney’s second scalp when he played on and was bowled for 16 from 37 balls. Matt Coles then followed an outswinger from Milnes to give Keast his third catch.
The end came at 12.45 p.m. when Neil Wagner turned Samit Patel into Ross Taylor’s hands at second slip.