Cricket: Essex’s Porter claims career-best haul
PUBLISHED: 19:34 18 September 2018 | UPDATED: 19:34 18 September 2018
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Jamie Porter celebrated his career-best bowling figures as Essex sent Worcestershire crashing back down to earth after their Vitality Blast triumph.
Porter claimed a scintillating 7-41 as Worcestershire were bowled out for 94 in the morning session.
The haul took him to 51 for the season – the fourth campaign in a row the 25-year-old has taken more than 50 first-class scalps.
Murali Vijay pushed home Essex’s advantage with his third half century in as many innings for the county, with Tom Westley also reaching the milestone – the hosts closing the day on 252-5 with a lead of 158.
Worcestershire had come into the game riding the wave of their first piece of major silverware since 2007 as they beat Sussex to the Twenty20 trophy on Saturday.
The county’s good luck continued as stand-in captain Daryl Mitchell took the risk of the toss and won, electing to bat on a good paced wicket under grey skies.
That was as good as it got for Worcestershire in the morning as Porter ran riot.
The right-arm fast bowler needed just four deliveries to bowl Tom Fell, with a ball which angled in and beat the opening batsman through bat and pad.
Porter’s next over then brought three wickets in four balls as Worcestershire collapsed to 12-4.
With the second ball of the over dangled outside Mitchell’s off-stump, with the opener dabbing a thin edge behind to Adam Wheater.
Next ball, Joe Clarke flicked through mid-wicket and ran hard for three runs, giving chase Tom Westley hurled to the non-striker’s end, where both Clarke and Oliver Westbury had both converged.
Porter threw, waywardly, to Wheater, who broke the stumps – Westbury the last man to leave his ground and forced to depart.
Two balls later, Alex Milton was the latest to see his off stump cartwheeling backwards due to a Porter in-ducker.
Ben Cox was the next to depart when Porter had him lbw and Ed Barnard was clean bowled with the next delivery – which gave Porter his third five-wicket haul of the season.
Porter ended his first seven-over spell with figures of 5-32 before Sam Cook replaced him at the Hayes Close End and he quickly had Wayne Parnell lbw.
Porter returned to bowl Joe Clarke, who had admirably scored a battling 28, and Josh Tongue was caught by Dan Lawrence at third slip – with Porter besting his previous best of 7-55.
Simon Harmer ended the Worcestershire innings when Dillon Pennington edged to Vijay at first slip – the relegation threatened side’s lowest total of the season.
Essex’s reply looked like it could have followed a similar path when Parnell castled Nick Browne, but Vijay, along with Westley hauled them into the lead with a 129-run stand for the second wicket.
Indian Vijay had scored 56 and 100 on his debut for Essex against Nottinghamshire last week and followed it up with more excellent shot play on his Chelmsford debut.
Most attention-grabbing were the overseas opener’s perfectly timed drives, but his overall demeanour at the crease hinted at a comfort not afforded the Worcestershire batsmen.
Vijay reached his fifty in 78 balls but eventually departed for 85, dragging Tongue on, with Lawrence quickly following when he was leg before to Barnard.
Westley found runscoring less natural but a brilliant cover drive showcased his best skills in a 117-ball half century. He was eventually caught behind by Cox, standing up to Barnard.
Ryan ten Doescharte departed for a casually made 18 before he slashed an edge to Clarke at first slip.
Ravi Bopara and Wheater accrued runs in the evening, although the latter was dropped on 24 by Clarke at first slip, with both ending the day on 36 not out.