Bob Willis Trophy: Sussex seamer George Garton takes 5-26 against Essex

George Garton
George Garton's second wicket of the day was Essex opener Sir Alastair Cook
Bob Willis Trophy, 1st Central County Ground (day three):
Sussex 194 & 57-2: Finch 32
Essex 140: Garton 5-26
Sussex (3 pts) lead Essex (3 pts) by 111 runs

George Garton's maiden five-wicket haul put Sussex in a strong position against Essex in the Bob Willis Trophy.

The left-arm seamer took 5-26, including the wicket of former England captain Alastair Cook, as the South Group leaders were dismissed for 140 in response to Sussex's 194 on day three at Hove.

In the 21 overs before stumps, Sussex reached 57-2 in their second innings and lead by 111 with a day to go.

All results are still possible on a pitch offering some uneven bounce, but Sussex will fancy their chances of claiming a second win in the competition after dismissing the county champions for their lowest total since last August when they were bowled out for 114 by Kent at Canterbury.

Only Paul Walter, who top-scored with 33 before becoming Garton's third victim to the first ball after tea, got the measure of the conditions and an accurate Sussex seam attack.

By the time Garton came on in the 14th over to strike with his sixth ball, Essex had already lost Nick Browne, bowled by Mitch Claydon in the first over, and Tom Westley, who was superbly caught by the diving Tom Clark at square leg to give 19-year-old seamer Henry Crocombe his maiden first-class wicket.

Garton's ability to make the ball bounce disconcertingly off a length made him a handful. His first victim, Dan Lawrence, was caught behind off the shoulder of the bat before he pinned Cook (20) on the crease.

Ryan Ten Doeschate was turned around by Tom Haines and feathered a catch to slip and, when Adam Wheater under-edged Stuart Meaker to give the former Surrey man his first wicket for his new county, Essex were in a hole at 90-6.

Walter and Simon Harmer added 29 for the seventh wicket to steady the innings, but Garton produced a beauty which pitched on middle and hit the top of off stump to unseat Walter with the first ball after tea.

Garton extracted more bounce to have Aaron Beard caught at second slip and after Harmer had been trapped on the crease by Claydon, Garton finished things off by bowling last man Matt Quinn for 13.

Garton was not the only bowler celebrating on a day when 16 wickets fell, with Jamie Porter claiming the 13th five-wicket haul of his career earlier in the day.

Porter finished with 5-60, taking his fourth wicket in the third over of the day when Garton nicked off for 18.

He would have had a fifth wicket had Westley not dropped a straightforward catch at third slip to reprieve Aaron Thomason on 18, but Porter did not have long to wait when Meaker was taken low down at second slip by Harmer pushing forward.

The obdurate Thomason had faced 105 balls for his 30 before Harmer, who took 3-48 from 27 overs, had him caught by Cook at slip and Beard wrapped up the innings when Claydon drove at an out-swinger and Cook bagged his fourth catch of the innings.

When Sussex batted again, Porter struck in his third over when late movement unsettled Haines, who edged to second slip where Harmer held on to a juggling catch.

But Phil Salt and Harry Finch added 50 and their side would have been in an even stronger position had Finch not been caught down the leg side off Beard from the final ball of the day for 32.

Essex head coach Anthony McGrath:

"It nibbled about a bit but we can't complain about the conditions too much because we put them in. We did well to bowl them out for 194 but we have to bat better than we did.

"We lost early wickets and never built any big partnerships but I still think it's set up for a good day.

"We will need to bowl well first thing but we have the attack to take wickets quickly. We need to control the run rate but it's also something we have done well for the last few years."

Sussex fast bowler George Garton:

"My first five-for has been a long time coming but hopefully I can kick on from this.

"I was really happy with the way I bowled and to get a big fish like Alastair Cook out was a special moment because when he comes in he's always got a target on his head.

"If we're going to have a chance of winning the group we probably need to win this game. It's not a wicket you can score quickly on but I'd say the game is still finely balanced."

Match report supplied by PA Media.

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