Cricket: Five-star Harmer puts Essex on top against Yorkshire
PUBLISHED: 18:17 07 July 2019 | UPDATED: 18:17 07 July 2019
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Simon Harmer claimed his sixth five-wicket haul of the summer to take his tally in the Specsavers County Championship past 50 for the third season on the trot.
The South African returned figures of 5-76 from 18.3 overs as Yorkshire were bowled out for 208 inside 50 overs after winning the toss at Chelmsford and electing to bat.
However, while Harmer moved on to 54 wickets in just nine Championship matches, it was not without personal cost: he had bowled 40 overs in Nottinghamshire's second innings at Trent Bridge last week for 36 runs; this time he was smashed for three sixes and seven fours by Yorkshire batsmen intent on not being bogged down.
Tom Westley led Essex's reply holding together the innings with only his second half-century of the season. At the close, with Essex seeking a fourth successive victory to stay in touch with Somerset at the top, Westley was unbeaten on 52 out of a total of 122-3 from 44 overs, 86 runs behind.
Harmer claimed 74 first-class victims in his debut season for Essex two years ago, and 57 last summer, and reached his latest half-century in his third over of the day when he pinned Tom Kohler-Cadmore lbw with one that kept low.
Two wickets in two balls either side of lunch by the 30-year-old off-spinner knocked the stuffing out of the Yorkshire batting. Harry Brook looked to be the man capable of taming Harmer, using his feet well to counter the spin. He had put on 59 at a fair lick with Jonathan Tattersall to steady the Yorkshire ship, striking seven boundaries during his 60-ball innings.
But to the last ball before lunch, Brook lunged forward extravagantly in an attempt to nullify the turn and he was bowled all ends up. Tattersall then went to Harmer's first ball of the afternoon when he nicked behind to Wheater as Yorkshire sunk from 128-4 to 129-6.
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Harmer took some stick from Keshav Maharaj and Matt Fisher, the South African launching a towering six over cow corner and Fisher one just as big over long leg. Ben Coad later lofted a third maximum.
Maharaj was given a life on 25 when Ryan ten Doeschate, diving forward at wide mid-off, failed to cling on to a mis-drive off Peter Siddle. However, it only cost Essex one run as Maharaj was trapped lbw soon after swinging again at Harmer. Fisher misjudged the flight of another delivery and was also lbw to give Harmer his fifth wicket.
At the start of the day, Adam Lyth had been first to go, driving Jamie Porter loosely to point where Nick Browne took the catch. Gary Ballance followed, bowled around his legs for eight by Siddle.
Opener Will Fraine had looked settled, garnering six boundaries in his 33-ball 29 out of 43 before he was third to go, tickling a Porter delivery to be caught behind.
Siddle picked up his second wicket when Steven Patterson was beaten for sheer pace. Aaron Beard was late to the party before collecting his only wicket of the innings courtesy of a fine flying catch in front of first slip by Wheater to send back Ben Coad.
Yorkshire's 208 was the highest first-innings score by any visitors to Chelmsford so far this season, beating Nottinghamshire's 187 in mid-May.
Essex lost Browne in the sixth over of their response when the ball stopped on him and he found himself dollying it back to Fisher, who took a very good catch low down to his left in his follow-through. Westley battered Coad for four fours in an over before Sir Alastair Cook departed for 27 when Patterson got one to nip back and take the edge of the bat.
Westley shared stands of 46 for the second wicket with Cook and 44 for the third with Lawrence, who clipped Duane Olivier tamely to midwicket and looked thoroughly disappointed with himself.
Westley's fifty came up from his eighth four, a controlled edge down to third man, and had taken 101 balls. Rishi Patel was still with him at stumps on 10.