Simon Harmer takes six wickets as Essex target another victory
Simon Harmer took six wickets for 92 runs in a marathon bowling stint to help leaders Essex enforce the follow-on in the Specsavers County Championship Division One match against Warwickshire.
His Essex team-mates formed a guard of honour as the off-spinner left the field to a rousing ovation from a sizeable third-day Chelmsford crowd, after his first five-wicket haul since joining at the start of the season gave the hosts control.
The South African, who has now taken 25 Championship wickets, helped dismiss Warwickshire for 283 in 109 overs, well short of the 392 target to make Essex bat again.
Harmer was then back in action after six overs of Warwickshire’s second innings, and he had Jonathan Trott leg before wicket for eight, not playing a shot to the final ball of the day.
Warwickshire were 27 for two in the 11 overs available before the close, still 231 runs short of avoiding their fourth innings defeat in six Championship games this summer.
Harmer bowled at the Hayes Close End from 11.30am until 4.35pm, with only breaks for lunch and tea. During the afternoon session, he had figures of 17-10-20-1.
So difficult was he to get away that the usually belligerent Rikki Clarke took 30 balls to get off the mark, and only some late big hitting by Jeetan Patel, who claimed 36 of his run-a-ball 71 from the 28 deliveries he faced from Harmer, dented the 28-year-old’s figures.
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When Harmer was taken out of the attack his rest was only brief as he immediately switched to the River End and soon had Keith Barker lbw to break an entertaining eighth-wicket stand of 76 with Patel, before removing Patel to a return catch.
Apart from Patel, the only other Warwickshire innings of note was from Sam Hain, whose 58 was his best score of a scratchy season.
Trott went to the fifth ball of the day, pulling Neil Wagner to Varun Chopra at square leg, then Bell – after seeing a shot drop just short of Alastair Cook at slip – hit Harmer straight to the former England captain to depart for 32 and end a 66-run fourth-wicket partnership with Hain.
Tim Ambrose and Hain both survived chances before Hain nicked Paul Walter to James Foster.
When Warwickshire batted again, Walter had Ian Westwood caught behind without scoring, before Trott departed.