Harmer helps Essex claim innings win over Derbyshire
Simon Harmer claimed his seventh LV= Insurance County Championship 10-wicket haul as Essex returned to winning ways by cruising to an innings and 15-run victory over Derbyshire.
Harmer, who bowled unchanged from the River End on day four, took three for 122 in the second innings after a career-best nine for 80, for match analysis of 12 for 202. Jamie Porter and Sam Cook also took three scalps in the second innings.
Ryan ten Doeschate claimed six catches in the match, all at short-leg – the 14th occasion an Essex player has managed the feat and first since Alastair Cook versus Durham in 2004.
The win handed Essex the maximum 24 points to recharge their Division One ambition after three games without a success, while Derbyshire only secured a solitary point.
Brooke Guest, who completed his maiden first-class half-century the previous evening, and Billy Godleman continue to frustrate Essex as their partnership hit 212 balls, and 97 runs.
But a change of ball, after Guest had swept into the brick wall in front of the pavilion, brought about an immediate change. Porter angled in to Godleman to wrap the former Essex man on the pads.
Four overs later Guest made a rare misstep on 65, as he offered no shot to Sam Cook and was also given lbw.
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Lues du Plooy and Wayne Madsen were both dropped either side of lunch – the former dropped by Alastair Cook at first slip and the latter survived sweeping at leg slip Dan Lawrence.
Essex’s close in fielders continued to chunter noisily about going bang-bang, and finally got their wish as Madsen and du Plooy’s stand ended in quick succession, having been together for 19 overs.
Madsen tickled onto his thigh pad before Ryan ten Doeschate swooped at short-leg to give Harmer his first of the innings, having been wicketless for 29.5 overs.
In the following over, Shane Snater drew an edge out of du Plooy with Alastair Cook holding on at first slip.
Harvey Hosein and Matt Critchley chewed up another 15 overs before another bang-bang as Harmer and ten Doeschate teamed up for the sixth time in the match.
Hosein was the victim of some panther-like reactions after a thick inside edge before Fynn Hudson-Prentice went back and looped to the Netherlands international off his leg.
Matt Critchley was the next to depart when Jamie Porter struck with the second new ball as he edged to Alastair Cook.
Sam Cook completed the emphatic victory when Billy Stanlake chipped to mid-on before Alex Hughes sliced to point.
Essex have now beaten Derbyshire by an innings in four of their last five meetings, with this win coming despite a washed-out opening day and 147 overs lost in the match.
Essex fast bowler Porter, who took three for 41, said: “We haven’t played our best cricket recently, but I think this was our best cricket. People have been doubting us and hopefully that sends a clear message.
“The people with the doubt are the guys who, with the greatest respect, don’t know what they are talking about. We are aware they were there but that just fuels the fire and creates performances like that.
“At Edgbaston there was one bad session, at Worcester we were on the better side of the draw and at Notts we were simply outplayed – it didn’t feel like crisis station. Those results don’t define a season.
“When you are so used to turning up and outplaying opposition it can be hard to take a loss but we are very good that it isn’t the end of the world and there is still plenty of time to win the group.
“To have the first day rained off on a wicket that looked like it would offer a bit to the bowlers and play the way we did on day one, I’ve never been involved in such a dominant day’s play in my life.
“Harmer is the best in the world at the moment, in my opinion. That will always be up for debate but he is certainly the best I’ve seen and the best in county cricket. Having him in your side makes life a lot easier!”