Essex v Middlesex: South Africa spinner Simon Harmer takes 9-95 as visitors collapse
|Specsavers County Championship Division One, Cloudfm County Ground (day four):|
|Middlesex 246 & 262: Compton 120; Harmer 9-95|
|Essex 542-3 dec: Browne 221, Cook 193, Chopra 100*; Rayner 2-152|
|Essex (24 pts) beat Middlesex (1 pt) by an innings and 34 runs|
Off-spinner Simon Harmer took a career-best 9-95 as Essex beat Middlesex with just moments of a dramatic final evening at Chelmsford remaining.
Harmer finished with match figures of 14-172 as the county champions lost their last five wickets for 10 runs.
Nick Compton made 120 off 303 balls, putting on 153 with Paul Stirling (55) to help Middlesex recover from 51-3.
But they slumped from 252-5 to 262 all out as Division One leaders Essex won by an innings and 34 runs.
Middlesex lost their last four wickets in 27 deliveries as Essex wrapped up victory with a maximum of eight balls left.
Their maximum 24-point haul sent them 29 points clear at the top of County Championship Division One.
Harmer, who returned career-best figures of 14-128 in last week's win over Warwickshire, has now taken 47 wickets in eight matches this season.
Middlesex began the day on 27-0, still needing another 273 runs to avoid an innings defeat, and got off to the worst possible start when Nick Gubbins was caught by Alastair Cook.
Harmer, who played five Tests for South Africa in 2015, had Stevie Eskinazi caught one-handed by Varun Chopra, diving forward at leg slip after Cook had parried the ball at slip, while Dawid Malan soon followed for one.
Compton steadied the ship and completed his first century of the season from 232 balls, but was trapped leg before to become Harmer's 11th wicket of the game before Middlesex subsided.