Lancashire beaten inside three days by Essex
A magnificent bowling display sealed a five-wicket victory for Essex inside three days in their Specsavers County Championship match against Lancashire at Emirates Old Trafford.
The champions completed the double over the Red Rose, who have won just one of their first six games, as 19 wickets fell yesterday.
An eventful day saw an Air Ambulance land on the outfield during the morning to attend to a medical emergency in the pavilion, delaying play for 30 minutes.
Essex were bowled out for 302 shortly before lunch for a first-innings lead of one, having started on 221-6, with Neil Wagner and Sam Cook sharing a crucial 42 for the last wicket.
Lancashire were then bowled out for 105 second time around, leaving the visitors a target of 105 after tea, which they achieved for the loss of five wickets. Ravi Bopara top-scored with 36 not out.
New ball seamer Jamie Porter and Simon Harmer shared nine wickets. Porter finished with 5-30 from 12.4 overs and off-spinner Harmer 4-34 from 11.
Only Joe Mennie (32) made it beyond 20 for a Lancashire side undone by accurate bowling on a pitch offering uneven bounce and turn. The most obvious example of the former was captain Liam Livingstone, trapped lbw by a Porter shooter for 17 as they slipped to 41-7.
England Test opener Keaton Jennings, Alex Davies and Jordan Clark all fell for ducks, while Haseeb Hameed’s worrying poor form continued with four.
Jennings edged Porter to second slip as the hosts reached at 6-2 at lunch. Hameed was later caught behind off the same bowler.
The Red Rose were in danger of a new lowest score against Essex but Mennie and Tom Bailey (16) avoided that.
Mennie later struck with the ball as Essex’s top order stumbled against more good bowling, although it was Graham Onions who impressed the most with three wickets, including Alastair Cook caught at third slip at the second attempt by Hameed.
The visitors slipped to 41-4 before captain Ryan ten Doeschate (19) and Bopara all but saw them home with a stand of 52.
An Ambulance, two Rapid Response vehicles and an Air Ambulance arrived to attend to a male patient in the morning, with nine overs lost.
Lancashire captain Liam Livingstone said his side were outplayed by Essex in their five-wicket home defeat
Livingstone admitted: “It’s not ideal. I just don’t think we played enough good cricket over three days to warrant winning the game.
“You can’t be 40-5 in both innings and expect to win. I think we’ve been out-batted and out-bowled by Essex.
“We’re obviously disappointed and it hurts to lose but we’re not even halfway through the season, so there’s still a lot of cricket to be played.
“The pitch wasn’t great today, but both teams had to bat on it. We’re making no excuses – we were just beaten by a better team.”
Essex coach Anthony McGrath said: “That’s a great win. Every time we come to Lancashire we know it’s going to be very difficult. We were the two best teams in the leagues last year. It went back and forth all the way through until the third innings.
“I thought the bowling by Jamie Porter, in particular, was absolutely outstanding and backed up by Simon Harmer.
“To leave us with 105, even though there were a few nervy minutes, it was brilliant.
“Our bowling was incredible. We were a bowler down in the second innings. Sam Cook bowled a quarter-fit.”