Warwickshire rally to frustrate Essex bowlers
- Credit: Nick Wood/TGS Photo
Gritty late order resistance from Warwickshire held up Essex's progress on the second day of their intriguing LV=Insurance County Championship match at Edgbaston.
In reply to the champions' total of 295, the home side closed on Warwickshire 243 for eight, with ninth-wicket pair Danny Briggs and Craig Miles having added an unbroken 50.
Essex bowled with familiar effectiveness at a unit, with Simon Harmer and Peter Siddle taking three wickets apiece, to have the Bears 198 for eight.
Having chipped away with customary nous, at that point they scented a decisive first innings lead but Briggs (32 not out, 89 balls, three fours, one six) and Miles (22 not out, 85 balls, no fours, no sixes) dug in to keep their side very much in the game.
After Warwickshire resumed in the morning on seven without loss, four of the top five put down roots and passed 25, but none went on to play a match-shaping innings. Matt Lamb top-scored with 47 (117 balls, nine fours).
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Essex quickly struck when Rob Yates was bowled by Sam Cook for four (37 balls). Will Rhodes and Hanuma Vihari then took the score to 34 before the former (26, 58 balls, five fours) played on to Siddle.
Vihari , making his home debut for Warwickshire, looked in sublime form. He played the spin of Harmer in accomplished fashion but was undone by seam when, on 32 (71 balls, five fours), he edged a superb ball from Jamie Porter to wicketkeeper Adam Wheater.
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Harmer was not to be denied though and struck twice in quick succession when Hain (36, 84 balls, two fours) went down the track and was bowled and Michael Burgess missed a swipe across the line and was stumped.
Tim Bresnan, who received his county cap from Warwickshire legend Ian Bell before play, batted positively for 21 from 29 balls before Harmer bowled him too.
Siddle then struck twice in five balls. Olly Stone batted with aplomb to reach 16 exclusively in fours but was pinned lbw. Lamb, having again batted with considerable skill and resolve, lost his off stump knocked out by one that kept a little low.
At 193 for eight, with the prospect of batting last against Harmer, Warwickshire were under serious pressure but Briggs, who pulled Cook over long leg for six, and Miles batted watchfully and concentrated hard to post a half-century stand in 163 balls.
Essex head coach Anthony McGrath said: "I was disappointed with our first innings, I thought we were probably 50 or 70 short, but the bowlers were absolutely magnificent today.
"It is quite a slow wicket, but we chipped away all day and they never got away from us, scoring at 2.3/2.4 per over all day. We will bowl far worse than that and bowl teams out.
"The game is still in the balance and the third innings, as we saw last week, is really important, so hopefully we can nick them out in the morning with some kind of lead then really bat well because I think, on that wicket Harmy will come into his own."