Essex v Warwickshire: Test spinner Simon Harmer takes six as Bears follow on again

Simon Harmer now has 28 first-class wickets for the season
Essex spinner Simon Harmer's best figures for Essex have taken him to 28 first-class victims this season
Specsavers County Championship Division One, Cloudfm County Ground (day three):
Essex 541-9 dec: Bopara 192, Foster 121, Browne 84; Patel 4-138
Warwickshire 283: Patel 71, Hain 58; Harmer 6-92 & 27-2: Harmer 1-3
Essex 6 pts, Warwickshire 3 pts
Warwickshire trail Essex by 231 runs with eight wickets remaining

Essex's South African Test spinner Simon Harmer took 6-92 as struggling Warwickshire were invited to follow on for the third time this season.

Harmer bowled almost unchanged for 39 overs as Warwickshire, 60-2 overnight, were bowled out for 283 at Chelmsford.

Jeetan Patel hit 71 and Sam Hain 58 for Division One's bottom club.

But, having already slumped to 27-2 second time around against leaders Essex, the Bears face a fight to avoid a fourth innings defeat of the season.

Apart from Patel's late-order runs, sharing a 76-run stand with the ever reliable Keith Barker (24), the only plus point on a sultry day in Essex for the Bears was Hain's return to form.

In his previous seven County Championship innings this season, the Hong Kong-born England hopeful had managed only 59 runs in seven innings.

But he almost matched that before becoming a victim for left-arm paceman Paul Walter, who added the wicket of opener Ian Westwood when Warwickshire were put back in again halfway though the day's final session.

Neil Wagner also took two wickets in the day for Essex, both catches for former Bears skipper Varun Chopra.

He was in the right place on the deep square leg boundary to remove Jonathan Trott earlier in the day when he took the bait and hooked a Wagner bouncer, then he later caught Tim Ambrose at point for 25 - to safely pouch the 200th first-class catch of his career.

The day then ended as it had begun, with the departure of Trott, lbw, to give Harmer another scalp, from the final ball of the day, and leave the Bears needing to bat the whole of the final day to avoid a fourth heavy defeat in just six matches.

Amir to make Essex debut in day/nighter

Essex have confirmed that Mohammad Amir will be available to make his debut against Middlesex next week in the inaugural round of day/night games

The Pakistan fast bowler, one of the heroes of Sunday's Champions Trophy final victory against India at The Oval, was signed by Essex back last November.

He has signed to play for the second half of the season, which will include Essex's final seven County Championship matches, as well as the entire T20 Blast.


BBC WM's Mike Taylor

"The two dismissals of Jonathan Trott that bookended today's play have advanced Essex's claims to a Championship title on their top-flight return. He offered only the front pad to the last ball of the day from Simon Harmer, which appeared well wide of the off-stump but turned, and was adjudged lbw by umpire Neil Bainton.

"That was the 10th wicket of the day, leaving Essex eight more to get tomorrow on a pitch bound to offer a little more assistance to Harmer in particular. He claimed seven of the wickets in a diligent and skilful effort, showing great control and focus in the heat.

"With Neil Wagner finding a troubling, short-but-not-too-short length from his first over, when he had Trott hooking into a trap at backward square leg. Sam Hain showed much improved form for Warwickshire and played with authority - Jeetan Patel changed the tone and, although he could not avert the follow-on, his runs could be of real value if Warwickshire are close to parity by tea. Getting that far, however, may be a trial."

Essex off spinner Simon Harmer told BBC Radio Essex:

"I've been struggling a bit with my knees, so that is the only thing that hurts. Other than that I've got a big engine, so once it gets going I'm all right. It was nice to get a good bowl in.

"It was a long shift, but obviously a productive one so you're not going to complain after a day like that. We'll have a couple of beers tonight to help with the recovery.

"Trott's wicket was a good cherry on the cake on a good day for Essex. To get them back in tonight, and get two more wickets, we definitely would have taken that."

Warwickshire off spinner Jeetan Patel told BBC WM:

"Simon Harmer bowled really well. He bowled great areas all day and asked questions on the outside and inside edge. It was a good length.

"He bowled nearly 40 overs today and you've got to pat him on the back to keep coming in and asking the same questions over and over again. Their consistency and patience is what's going to stand them in good stead."

"We've got to believe that every over we get through is one less over we have to face. We've been under the pump for three days. Can we fight back? That's the question that needs to be answered."

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