Essex fight back with ball

PUBLISHED: 19:51 19 April 2016 | UPDATED: 19:51 19 April 2016

Essex's Jamie Porter (pic: Gareth Fuller/PA)

Essex's Jamie Porter (pic: Gareth Fuller/PA)

PA Wire

Napier and Porter share nine Sussex wickets

Essex raised hopes of a second successive win in the County Championship after fighting back with the ball on day three of their Division Two match against Sussex at Hove.

Dismissed for 320 on the stroke of lunch, to concede a 40-run deficit on first innings, the visitors saw Sussex bat themselves into a strong position in the afternoon session, moving more than 200 runs clear with seven wickets still in hand.

But Graham Napier and Oaks Park old boy Jamie Porter combined to bowl Essex back into the match, sharing all the wickets to fall before Sussex’s final pair dug in to see them close on 282-9, a lead of 322 heading into the final day.

Essex had resumed on 252-7, with Sussex taking the second new ball, and Ryan ten Doeschate hit successive cover drives to the boundary off Ollie Robinson.

Napier hit Steve Magoffin for six, before his captain reached his half-century off 118 balls, having struck two sixes and five fours, to take the score to 301-7 and a third batting point.

But the Dutchman then fell without further addition, as he edged a lifting delivery from Robinson to Danny Briggs at first slip, and Napier was trapped leg before five runs short of his fifty.

Australian Matt Dixon followed moments later, leaving Porter stranded on six not out as the innings closed on 320.

Sussex navigated two overs before lunch, extending their lead to 51 runs, but lost Ed Joyce soon after the restart as Napier hit the stumps.

First innings centurion Chris Nash and Matt Machan added 65 runs to the home side’s total during the next hour of play and put on 97 altogether before Machan edged Napier to Wanstead old boy James Foster.

New Zealand international Ross Taylor added 45 for the third wicket before becoming Porter’s first victim to leave Sussex 165-3, more than 200 runs ahead.

And Porter then earned lbw decisions to remove Luke Wells and Ben Brown in quick succession to leave the hosts 209-5.

Nash fell eight runs short of his second century of the match, leg before to Napier, before Porter sent Robinson packing.

And the tireless Napier dismissed George Garton for a duck to make it 232-8, before he trapped Briggs leg before with the score on 244 to claim his fifth wicket of the innings.

But Sussex took their lead beyond the 300-run mark as the last-wicket pairing of Ajmal Shahzad and Magoffin put on 40 to hold up the Essex charge and leave the match finely poised for the final day.

Sussex 360 (Nash 119; Joyce 61; Robinson 51; Napier 3-61; Westley 2-20; Ten Doeschate 2-34; Porter 2-83) and 282-9 (Joyce 10; Nash 92; Machan 47; Taylor 22; Wells 11; Brown 8; Robinson 19; Shahzad 18*; Garton 0; Briggs 9; Magoffin 22*; Porter 25-3-82-4; Napier 23-3-86-5; Dixon 4-0-26-0; Ryder 4-0-20-0; Bopara 7-0-41-0; ten Doeschate 5-0-14-0).

Essex 320 (Browne 15; Cook 1; Westley 86; Bopara 17; Lawrence 11; Ryder 51; Ten Doeschate 51; Foster 14; Napier 45; Porter 6*; Dixon 1; Magoffin 2-52; Robinson 2-74; Shahzad 2-66; Garton 2-60; Briggs 2-52).

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