Warwickshire v Essex: Dom Sibley battles but leaders bowl out Bears at Edgbaston
|Specsavers County Championship Division One, Edgbaston (day one):|
|Warwickshire 201: Sibley 76, Bell 37; Porter 4-47, Harmer 4-62|
|Essex 69-0: Chopra 42*, Browne 23*|
|Essex trail Warwickshire by 132 runs with 10 wickets remaining|
|Essex 3 pts, Warwickshire 1 pt|
Division One's leading two wicket takers Jamie Porter and Simon Harmer each claimed another four scalps as Essex took a big step towards the County Championship title at Edgbaston.
Despite a solid effort from opener Dom Sibley, who was last out for 76, bottom club Warwickshire totalled only 201.
In-form fast bowler Porter took 4-47, his fifth successive haul of four or more, and off-spinner Harmer 4-62.
Essex then reached stumps on 69-0, with former Bears opener Varun Chopra on 42.
Eyeing a big score on his first return to Edgbaston since going back to Chelmsford a year ago, the ex-Warwickshire captain was accompanied by Nick Browne, who was also still there on 23 when bad light forced an early close.
After the early loss of Sam Hain and Bears captain Jonathan Trott both to Porter, the first two of seven lbw decisions in the innings, the home side rallied.
Former Warwickshire skipper Ian Bell, who has been averaging little more than 20 in first-class cricket this season, looked back to near his best in a fluent 37 before he too was leg before wicket to one that jagged back from Neil Wagner.
After putting on 46 with Bell, Sibley then shared two more decent stands of 52 with Matt Lamb and 43 with Chris Woakes. But, for once, the Bears tail failed them as the last five wickets went down for just 20.
The Harmer and Porter Show
- Only two bowlers in Division One have taken over 50 Championship wickets this season, Porter (61, at an average of 18.13) and Harmer (59, at 21.14).
- Harmer's four wickets took his tally against the Bears this season to 18. He enjoyed match figures of 14-128 when Essex beat Warwickshire by an innings at Chelmsford in June.
- That was one of six 10-wicket match hauls in the top flight this season - and four of them have been Essex bowlers, Harmer (twice), Porter, in Essex's last win, and Mohammad Amir.
- Warwickshire's innings defeat at Chelmsford was the first time they had lost to Essex in Championship cricket in seven meetings.
- Essex, who are still unbeaten in 11 games this season, have not lost in the Championship in exactly a year - by 11 runs to Glamorgan, when they had already been crowned Division Two champions.
Warwickshire batsman Dom Sibley told BBC Coventry & Warwickshire: "Batting was hard work, especially at the start. Porter is a top bowler who has been taking stacks of wickets doing what he does. He hits the seam and was peppering my thigh-guard.
"Harmer bowled well as well. Normally if it seams around, it spins as well and he is a top bowler.
"But it's the sort of wicket which is difficult for new batsmen coming in so if we can come out firing and get a couple of early wickets, we can get right back in the game."
Essex bowler Jamie Porter told BBC Radio Essex: "All four bowlers did really well. Sam Cook hit a good length and nagged away, Neil Wagner took a vital wicket and Harmy did what he does pretty much week in and week out, challenging that forward defence with a bit of spin.
"My job with the new ball as a strike bowler is to knock over a couple early on if I can. You only get one new ball a game, at least only one when you are fresh, so you have got to make the most of it.
"Our openers did really well. It was typically Browney; he doesn't really give much away and left well and Chopra looked top-drawer."