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Recent Match Report – Essex vs Nottinghamshire, County Championship Division One, 2nd Innings

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Nottinghamshire 187 and 90 for 6 (Duckett 37, Harmer 4-32) lead Essex 241 (Browne 67, Fletcher 5-50) by 36 runs

When it came to losing things, the Chelmsford crowd took some beating. Public address announcements periodically crackled across the ground about mislaid wallets, members’ cards and even a hearing aid. An announcement about where to collect a lost hearing aid tends to be made more in hope than expectation.

As to who is losing the match, thanks to the bouncy excellence of Simon Harmer it increasingly appears to be Nottinghamshire, although this match has fluctuated so much it would be not be a complete surprise if they were given a reprieve and invited to collect it from the secretary’s office by Wednesday evening.

Notts’ first innings of 187 had been below par even allowing for searching batting conditions. Essex flirted with disaster at 158 for 8 before taking what appeared to be a priceless 54-run lead. Notts’ openers then wiped off the arrears with misleading ease, only to crumble to 90 for 6 by the close. Their lead is only 36.

The architect of that Notts collapse was Harmer, who on another sunny Chelmsford evening revived memories of those heady days in June 2017 when he took 28 wickets in two matches, against Warwickshire and Middlesex, fielders crouched around the bat in expectation, as he lit the fuse on Essex’s first title win for 25 years.

Harmer is fun to watch when batsmen are floundering to contain the turning ball. He possesses show as well as substance: white sunnies gleaming, shirt hanging out and bounding hither and thither, and hands outstretched at one point in his jaunty delivery stride as if he is the Pope attending the masses. Essex have felt blessed in the Championship from the moment he arrived.

Notts followed an opening stand of 70 by losing six wickets for 16 runs in 11 overs and Harmer’s part in that was a spell of 4 for 3 in 21 balls. From the moment Ben Duckett‘s ambition to hit him over the top failed with a slice to deep mid-off, he was in his element.

Duckett’s fellow opener, Ben Slater, was lbw on the back foot, next ball, to Jamie Porter. Harmer then found big turn to have Joe Clarke caught at first slip off inside edge and thigh; and Steven Mullaney and Samit Patel fell to the classic offspinner’s dismissal at short leg. Ryan ten Doeschate’s first catch was little more than a sighter; his second, to dismiss Patel first ball, was a cracker as he dived sharply to his left. The nightwatchman, Matt Carter, came out with more than six overs to bat and was leg before to Peter Siddle by the close.

“The wicket was turning so it was nice to be able to throw the ball out wide and know that I was always in the game,” Harmer said. “It has been a while since I have played on a Chelmsford wicket like that. It is good to have those feelings and memories.

“I think we always knew it would turn but we didn’t think it would turn that much. The turn is quite quick still which is good for me.”

Increasingly, this match has developed into a battle of the offspinners. Luke Fletcher, the indefatigable Notts seamer, deserves better than to be overshadowed after returning 5 for 50, the fifth five-wicket haul in his first-class career, but on a pitch that as Harmer indicated has developed over the second day from slightly troublesome seamer to raging turner, it is Carter who must pull off something special in response. First, he needs something to bowl at and much of the onus rests with the overnight pair of Chris Nash and Tom Moores.

Few bowlers approach the crease as sedately as Carter. He walks up to the line with an air of caution, as if not entirely sure that his 6ft 6ins frame can muster a bound without doing permanent damage to himself, but he finds decent loop for such a big man and finished with three first-innings wickets.

Essex threatened more than that 54-run lead. They were sitting pretty at 78 for nought, Alastair Cook and Nick Browne in good order, before they lost their first wicket. Stuart Broad had never played a Championship match at Chelmsford, but he had the satisfaction of wearing down Cook into reaching outside off stump to be caught at slip; Sir Alastair’s angry swish of self-admonishment suggested that knighthoods had been rescinded for less.

Tom Westley unveiled a couple of midwicket clips, but was distinctly unfortunate to be adjudged lbw to Broad as he tried to work him through square leg. Fletcher’s fortitude began to pay dividends: Dan Lawrence driving at a wide one, Rishi Patel undone by a decent ball that left him and ten Doeschate falling to a leave-alone.

Browne’s first half-century for eight Championship matches took him past 5,000 first-class runs, although not quite as quickly as he would have anticipated when some judges, Cook for one, presented him as an England prospect. He had given Essex some solidity, but his mistimed cut at a short ball from Carter left the tail with a rescue job, five wickets lost for 23 in 46 balls.

Harmer and Siddle provided it in an irrepressible ninth-wicket stand of 81 in 23 overs, Carter’s threat negated. “We were haemorrhaging wickets when me and Siddle came together and we needed to stop the bleeding,” Harmer said. “We played and missed a hundred times but we didn’t nick them.”



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Kohli pleased with India’s lower-order fightback

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India’s fightback after being reduced to 39 for 4 was the positive Virat Kohli chose to look back after their emphatic loss to New Zealand in their first warm-up fixture at The Oval. In the absence of Vijay Shankar and Kedar Jadhav, India found a savior in Ravindra Jadeja, who top scored with a 50-ball 54 to haul India to 179.

Jadeja added 62 with Kuldeep Yadav for the eight wicket, allowing India to reach the 40-over mark, a prospect that looked unlikely when Trent Boult ran through the top order. Hardik Pandya’s brisk 30 led a brief revival, only for the innings to stutter again until Jadeja guided the lower order.

“Very good,” Kohli said of the lower-order contributions at the post-match presentation. “I mean, the one thing we spoke about in a tournament like the World Cup is, you could easily have your top order out for not too many, so the lower order has to look forward to that and I think Hardik [Pandya] batted really well. MS [Dhoni] absorbs the pressure really well and [Ravindra] Jadeja got a few runs as well, so I think from that point of view, we got a lot out of this game, which is what we wanted to. The lower order getting some runs that was the biggest positive.”

Kohli assessed the surface wasn’t as bowler-friendly in the second innings, after Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor put on a century stand to deflate India. New Zealand sealed victory with six wickets in hand and nearly 13 overs to spare.

“It’s going to be very different from batting second and we saw that in this [game] in the later half of our innings as well,” he said. “I think we bowled it in the right areas, they were going at about four, four-and-a-half, which I think we would take any day in a tournament where the pitches are going to be good. If we can keep hitting those areas consistently, which I think we did with the new ball and the spinners as well, we’re going to be fine with that bowling attack.”



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Recent Match Report – Hampshire vs Somerset, Royal London One-Day Cup, Final

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Innings break Hampshire 243 for 8 (Northeast 56, Fuller 55*, J Overton 3-48) v Somerset

Royal London Cup holders Hampshire face a task on their hands with the ball if they are to retain the trophy after scrapping their way to 243 for 8. Shorn of three of the mainstays of their campaign by World Cup call-ups, a pair of half-centuries from Sam Northeast and James Fuller was as good as it got after Hampshire had chosen to bat, as Jamie Overton, Josh Davey and Somerset captain Tom Abell shared seven wickets between them.

Hampshire’s batsmen struggled to impose themselves from the outset – perhaps unsurprising when two players of the calibre of James Vince and Aiden Markram, now with England and South Africa respectively, had been removed from the top three – and but for Fuller’s late salvo during a 64-run stand with No. 10 Mason Crane, they might have left Somerset a target below 200.

At around the time Hampshire lost their fourth wicket, Liam Dawson was coming on for his first bowl in England’s World Cup warm-up match at the Ageas Bowl. How Hampshire fans would have preferred to see him walking out to the middle at Lord’s, following a Royal London campaign in which he claimed 18 wickets and averaged 45 with the bat. Instead it was Gareth Berg, with a List A highest score of 75, who came out at No. 6 to join Northeast.

Boundaries were at a premium as Somerset’s bowlers bustled about their business – given the scoring rate, this could almost have been a final from 2001, when Somerset last won a 50-over trophy at Lord’s. Jamie Overton broke a 49-run stand when Berg picked out deep backward square and Hampshire’s hopes of an imposing target seemingly departed with Northeast as he hacked across line, patience exhausted, to be bowled by Abell for 56.

Abell had only delivered one over in the format previously but also hit Kyle Abbott’s stumps in a tidy spell, while Chris Wood fell tamely to Jamie Overton, before Fuller and Crane begged and stole what they could during the last ten overs. A pair of clean-struck blows beyond the ropes from Fuller in the final over – the only sixes of the innings – suggested the pitch had runs left in it at halfway.

Perhaps hoping to follow the template of their victory over Kent last year, Hampshire chose to bat beneath low-slung cloud on a humid morning at Lord’s. While not exactly a green nibbler in September, there was enough in the surface for Somerset’s battery of right-arm medium bowlers to take advantage of.

Anuerin Donald struck a couple of early boundaries before hitting Davey straight to cover and although Tom Alsop and Joe Weatherley resolved to play their way in, it was ultimately to no avail. Alsop was dropped by James Hildreth at slip on 16, but obligingly recreated the chance off Davey’s very next ball and this time the Somerset veteran clung on.

Lewis Gregory strove for similar virtues of line and length when replacing Craig Overton and he found enough movement back in to defeat a loose push and remove Weatherley’s off stump in his second over, with Hampshire an anaemic-looking 50 for 3.

There followed a volley of retaliatory boundaries as Rilee Rossouw – Man of the Match for his 125 here a year ago – and Northeast dashed off 46 in 6.3 overs. Rossouw introduced himself to Gregory with a brusque force through the covers and then a swat over mid-on for four more but, having barrelled to 28 off 17 balls, he fell to the extra pace of Jamie Overton, cramped into edging a back-foot drive on to his stumps.

The onus now rested heavily on Northeast, Hampshire’s stand-in captain, and he packed away the shots to reach an 85-ball half-century. However, Abell was to steal his Lord’s limelight and help leave his team well-placed in pursuit of a first limited-overs title since 2005.



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Mark Wood and Jofra Archer give England more injury scares during Australia warm-up | Cricket

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England’s World Cup hopes may have sustained a serious blow after injury scares to both of their fastest bowlers.

Mark Wood and Jofra Archer, the two men in the England squad who can regularly surpass 90 mph with the ball, were obliged to leave the pitch within minutes of one another in the opening hour of the warm-up match against Australia in Southampton.

First Wood, after one ball of his fourth over, stopped halfway through his run-up and left the pitch having indicated that he may have an issue with his calf. Just two balls later Archer, a surprising choice as substitute fielder for Wood, slid as he attempted to stop a ball on the midwicket boundary and appeared to sustain an injury. He left the pitch moments later.

It meant that Paul Collingwood, one of England’s assistant coaches, was briefly forced into service as a substitute fielder. Collingwood turns 43 tomorrow, and retired as a player at the end of the 2018 season. Joe Root, who was due to miss the game following the death of his grandfather on Thursday, was also pressed into service as a substitute fielder.

England are also without the injured pair of Eoin Morgan, who sustained a fractured finger in training on Friday, and Adil Rashid, who has a long-standing shoulder injury. They also confirmed that Chris Woakes, who is expected to open the bowling in the World Cup, was playing in this match as a specialist batsman and would not bowl as they seek to manage his even more long-standing knee problems.

The England camp are yet to advise on the seriousness of the injuries.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo


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