County Championship: Essex continue title charge dismissing Yorkshire for 208

Simon Harmer celebrates a wicket for Essex with Adam Wheater
Simon Harmer (right) has taken 53 County Championship wickets so far this season
Specsavers County Championship Division One, Cloudfm County Ground, Chelmsford (day one):
Yorkshire 208: Brook 46, Fraine 29; Harmer 5-76, Porter 2-40
Essex 122-3: Westley 52*, Cook 27; Patterson 1-11
Essex (3 pts) trail Yorkshire (2 pts) by 86 runs

Simon Harmer ensured Essex kept up their pursuit of leaders County Championship leaders Somerset with 5-76 as Yorkshire were bowled out for 208.

The South African took his wicket tally to 53 in the Championship this season before Essex closed on 122-3 in reply.

Only Harry Brook (46) made a significant score for Yorkshire, who started the game third in Division One.

Tom Westley became the first to pass 50 on either side as he reached his half-century before stumps off 102 balls.

Essex, without Ravi Bopara due to illness, will resume 86 runs behind as they hope to keep pace with Somerset, who have a 15-point lead at the top, and lay a platform for a sixth win in seven games.

Despite losing the toss, they reduced Yorkshire to 69-4 before Brook and Jonny Tattersall (23) appeared to be counter-attacking with a fifth-wicket partnership of 59 off just 77 balls.

But Harmer struck with his last and first balls either side of lunch to dismiss both Brook and Tattersall to leave the visitors 129-6.

Some lusty blows down the order from Keshav Maharaj (26) and Matt Fisher (25) did at least help push Yorkshire past 200,

But after losing Nick Browne early for just eight to a superb one-handed caught and bowled by Fisher and Alastair Cook edging Steven Patterson behind for 27, Westley and Dan Lawrence (13) added 44 for the third wicket to make it Essex's day.

Essex head coach Anthony McGrath:

"It's typical of Chelmsford: Low scores, but the game's going forward. I don't think it will be a draw, which we pretty much expected before the start.

"We normally concede at around 2.7 but we were more at four, so we're a little disappointed with that. But, with the short boundary here, when you do err off line you've going to get punished.

"We would probably have batted, but for Simon Harmer to get five wickets, it was another superb effort. He's over 50 wickets now.

"Ravi Bopara has got a bug and isn't very well. He was up all night, but hopefully he'll be OK. We told him not to come in so he's not spreading it to all of us. Hopefully he'll be all right for the Warwickshire game next week."

Yorkshire's Matt Fisher:

"You work hard all winter to try and achieve something in your season, and it's been a tough first half of the year. But it's great to be back.

"They're slightly ahead. If we had them four or five down, we'd feel like we're on par. But that first half hour to an hour in the morning is important. They have to start again with an inexperienced lad [Rishi Patel], who has only played a few games. We'll try and put pressure on him.

"Then we could blow the tail away pretty sharpish because the way we're using Duanne Olivier, he could easily blow the tail away with only a few overs under his belt.

"At lunch when myself and Jonny Tattersall went back out, we said, 'We'll be happy with 250. Anything above that would be a bonus'. But we lost him quickly. It was tricky to know whether to attack or defend then, but others in our lower order play shots. So I just tried to hold things together."

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