Essex on the brink of County Championship title after crushing Warwickshire
- Credit: PA
Essex are on the brink of their first Specsavers County Championship title for 25 years after demolishing Warwickshire inside three days.
Essex are on the brink of their first Specsavers County Championship title for 25 years after demolishing Warwickshire.
They last claimed the title in 1992 but are within touching distance again just 12 months after winning Division Two.
They beat Warwickshire by an innings and 56 runs at Edgbaston and, if Lancashire fail to beat Somerset, Essex will be crowned champions.
Lancashire have so far put Essex’s champagne on ice today after a rain-delayed game in Taunton looks like heading into the final day.
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They need to win to take the title race to next week with Essex at Hampshire and Lancashire at Middlesex.
Former England captain Alastair Cook was in the stands ahead of his return to the Essex side having been granted permission by the ECB to play in their final two games.
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Essex end the season at home to Yorkshire close to emulating Nottinghamshire, who won back-to-back divisions in 2004 and 2005.
Defeat ended Warwickshire’s realistic hopes of survival as they remain rooted to the bottom of the table with two games left.
Essex had declared on 369 for nine, a lead of 168 after the hosts had been bowled out for 201.
They started the day on seven without loss needing to show resilience but Jonathan Trott, Ian Bell, Dominic Sibley and Sam Hain all went within the first 45 minutes.
Jamie Porter had Sibley caught by Varun Chopra at first slip after just four balls and then had Hain trapped lbw for just 11 to leave the hosts on 14 for two.
Trott followed soon after, playing on to Sam Cook, before Cook teased Bell and he was caught behind by James Foster for just five.
Essex were rampant and Chris Woakes was the next to go, brilliantly caught by Ravi Bopara for Simon Harmer’s fifth wicket of the match to leave Warwickshire 47 for five.
Rain forced an early lunch but Hamer dismissed Alex Mellor before Keith Barker departed without scoring after the re-start.
Matt Lamb, who top scored with 35, hooked to Dan Lawrence off Harmer and he caught Jeetan Patel as Cook ended Warwickshire’s frustrating 23-run ninth-wicket partnership.
Harmer then wrapped up the victory to inch Essex closer to the title when Chopra caught Henry Brookes to dismiss Warwickshire for 112.