GALLERY: Essex v Hampshire
- Credit: Archant
Graham Napier inspired a magnificent and unexpected Essex victory by four wickets in their LV= County Championship Division Two match at Chelmsford.
Left a modest target of 143, Essex looked doomed to defeat as they were reduced to 31 for six in the 12th over.
But Napier launched an assault on the visiting attack to score his second half-century of the match and lead his side to the winning post with an unbeaten 78.
Their heroics came after David Balcombe and James Tomlinson had each claimed a couple of wickets – the former bowling England captain Alastair Cook for four. Essex also contributed to their own problems with an horrendous mix-up debating a third run led to Tom Westley’s dismissal several yards from safety while James Foster was removed by George Bailey’s direct throw from short cover attempting a single.
But Napier then arrived to dominate proceedings, smashing 10 fours and three sixes, and Mark Pettini sealed victory with three runs to midwicket.
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An absorbing third day had started with the visitors on 77 for two and holding a slender advantage of 20. They were quickly put on the back foot when paceman David Masters breached the defence of George Bailey with only eight added.
Hampshire were revived by a half-century stand between Dawson and James Vince before the former fell victim to superb bat/pad catch by Ben Foakes
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Vince was eventually caught behind for 67 off Masters. But it was medium-pacer Ravi Bopara who was the main instigator of Hampshire’s rapid decline from 188 for five to 199 all out. He claimed three wickets in 10 deliveries for two runs