lancashire 131 (Harmer 5-41) and 25 for 6 (Snater 4-6) lead Essex 107 (Cook 40, Bailey 5-36) by 49 runs
Simon Harmer, who bowled just 23 overs in the two months since his last appearance for Essex in late July, returned from a largely dormant stint with South Africa to claim his sixth five-wicket haul of the summer. claimed his last fifty. For the fifth time in six seasons. But while their 5 for 41 helped Lancashire to 131, Essex struggled to capitalize on what was essentially a bronze-medal match to decide the final order in the LV=Insurance County Championship.
They were making four for five when Cook caught Josh Bohannon behind Lancashire. And it got worse when Snater took the fourth wicket, his sixth wicket of the day, knocking on George Balderson’s stumps. By the end, with 25 for six, Lancashire’s lead was uncertain of 49 runs.
Essex spinner Simon Harmer said: “To fall 26 wickets in a day is phenomenal, but I think if you look at some of the dismissals a lot of them were batsman-error. So it wasn’t down to the wicket. . “
Lancashire were less forgiving as Chappell made little effort to downplay their criticism.
“The boys are in really good form, really good seasons, trying their best and looking forward to try and win a game. They just found the pitch unstoppable. I thought we honestly went as far as Arrived, we did a great job to get there.
“The surface of the pitch looks bad. The ball is coming differently every time, if you look at the batsmen they can’t keep the bat on it. Ultimately we have to fight and try and get as much as we can. Let’s see what happens to the pitch for the remainder of the game. Obviously we had to bat in the light and that picked up the pace. We have got players who can’t hit the ball tonight. It’s really tough Pitch is.
“Sometimes the pitch looks different and you don’t know, or assume anything, we were just ready to play as best we could. But we needed to bat first because the surface isn’t really intact. It has foot-holes and holes. This, so we know it could potentially get worse. But we weren’t expecting it to play out like this.
“I think there was a ball with your name on it for the first three-quarters of the game, that was a given, but for the last 30 minutes it was completely ridiculous. Is this an acceptable pitch for first-class cricket? ? Absolutely not, no way, shape or form. We are here to play a game of cricket for four days and it is not good enough.
“We don’t want our supporters to think we threw the towel, we absolutely haven’t. We want our supporters to know we’re trying until the very end. Days like these are really annoying. , as simple as that.”
Lancashire, who won the toss in the sky over the lead, were all out for the first time about three-quarters of an hour after lunch. Snatter began his demise by hitting the outside of Wells’s bat with his first ball and rapping the off-stump. The first wicket stand of 25 turned out to be the largest stand of the innings and the second highest stand of the game so far.
Snater also removed Jennings, another Lancashire opener, at the start of his fourth over when an unruly inside edge went into cover. In the middle, Cook, who had switched to Hayes’ close end to accommodate the snatter, trapped Bohannan lbw, who kept low.
Harmer’s magisterial entry was delayed until the 18th over, and he bowled unchanged from River End until Lancashire’s brittle resistance ended. Croft reverse-swapped him for four before rediscovering his boundary and sending Vilas a skidding to claim the lbw.
Croft hung on for some time before chasing another reverse-sweep, realizing his mistake, trying to rectify it and slamming the ball into slip to diving Alastair Cook.
Harmer went to lunch with a third skull under his belt when Balderson discreetly dropped the final ball before the break and fell another lbw victim.
Lancashire were seven-down soon after the interval when George Bell made his first-class debut and was bowled by attempting an extraordinary drive on Cook. Will Williams did not last long, until Cook struck him with a bat near the ball on the pads.
The innings wrapped up in the 40th over – Bailey remained unbeaten on 24 when Parkinson slipped to give Harmer his 29th five-wicket return in six seasons for Essex.
Essex’s answer followed a similarly monotonous pattern. Nick Brown went for the third ball when he tried to hit Bayley onside and was lbw. Tom Westley then arms Williams, turning his off-stump to look behind, before Bayley was playing around a delivery to depart Lawrence lbw.
The process of going back to the pavilion continued. Balderstone removed Matt Critchley on his fifth ball, Hartley caught at head height, to his right, at third slip.
After tea, Firoz Khushi batted fast before dragging Parkinson’s first ball over his stumps. Meanwhile, Adam Rossington casually fished outside off-stump and kept going.
Alastair Cook had seen wickets fall, but after holding his end for 98 balls, he was seventh out, with Bailey pinning the plumb on his back foot. Essex’s innings came to an end after seven overs as Snatter, Harmer and Jamie Porter went through in quick succession. However, it was not the end of a bizarre day, nor far off.