Cricket: Essex take over at top as Yorkshire are hammered
PUBLISHED: 17:17 09 July 2019 | UPDATED: 17:17 09 July 2019
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The normally obdurate Nick Browne hanmmered two sixes in his unbeaten 33 that helped Essex to the summit of the Specsavers County Championship, albeit briefly while erstwhile leaders Somerset complete their current fixture.
Set 92 to win for their sixth win in seven matches, Essex got home with a full day and eight wickets to spare.
There were a few squeaks along the way: they lost Sir Alastair Cook with just 22 on the board. The former England captain had been dropped at first slip by Tom Kohler-Cadmore off Steven Patterson before he had scored. But lightning did not strike twice as he departed to the same combination for six.
Browne and Tom Westley showed aggressive intent by launching straight sixes as they upped the tempo after tea but that aggression proved to be Westley's downfall when he had a rush of blood against Keshav Maharaj and was stumped by Jonathan Tattersall for 31 from 43 balls.
The end came in the 22nd over of the innings when Dan Lawrence, who finished on 18, hit Duane Olivier for his third four.
Essex have now won all five of their Championship fixtures at Chelmsford so far this season; this was the fourth settled inside three days. They look to maintain their 100 per cent home record when Warwickshire visit on Saturday.
That Essex had such a comparatively tricky target to chase down was largely due to a spectacular and entertaining innings of 85 off 71 balls by Maharaj, the South African all-rounder signed on a short-term contract which ends next week.
Entering at 81-6, still 39 runs behind, Maharaj was ninth out but not before he had clobbered five sixes and seven four in taking the score to 193 when he left the scene of carnage.
He took a particular liking to Simon Harmer, walloping him for four towering maximums, two of them threatening spectators in the Chelmsford Pavilion.
He was reprieved on 43 with Peter Siddle was the culprit on the midwicket boundary, but the Australian made amends by finally ended Maharaj's fun and posting figures of 4-32. Jamie Porter chipped in with 3-62 and Harmer an uncharacteristically expensive 3-72.
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Much, much earlier on the third day, Adam Lyth managed to add just five runs in a dozen balls to his overnight nine from 57 before he has pinned lbw on his back foot by Porter.
The left-handed opener was swiftly followed by Harry Brook, who lasted 39 balls for 12 before he was also lbw to a straight one to become Siddle's third victim of the innings.
With half the side gone, and less than halfway to their immediate target of 120, the end looked nigh. But the sixth-wicket pair of Tattersall and Matt Fisher weighed anchor for 12 overs while reducing the deficit by 33 runs.
But having shown a high degree of patience, Tattersall fell into a well-baited Harmer trap. He stretched forward and the ball popped off an inside edge to Lawrence at leg slip. Tattersall stood admonishing himself for longer than was probably necessary before kicking the ground on his way off.
Maharaj decided to try and hit Harmer out of the attack, pulling him for four and a six into the Pavilion in one over. A swept four by Maharaj in Harmer's next over took the score into three-figures.
Fisher's 63-ball stay ended when Harmer switched to around the wicket and got one to turn prodigiously to gain an inside edge and another lbw decision.
The big-hitting Maharaj, refuelled after lunch, added a fourth boundary to take the scores level with 53 overs gone, and then pulled Porter through midwicket for a fifth.
Patterson offered some support as Yorkshire began the fightback before he edged Porter to Cook at first slip.
Maharaj was undeterred and hit Harmer for a straight six that threatened the press box. Next ball, he was reprieved on the boundary when the ball slipped through Siddle's hands and over the ropes. A second maximum in the over took Maharaj to his half-century from 46 balls. A fourth six landed on the Pavilion roof.
Nor was Porter immune from the carnage. He was deposited high over long leg for six number five.
The half-century partnership for the ninth wicket took just 37 balls with Ben Coad contributing 10 runs and Maharaj 42.
Siddle made up for his fielding error when he had Maharaj playing on and Porter wrapped up the innings with his 300th first-class wicket for Essex when Coad edged to Cook.