Recent Match Report – Essex vs Warwickshire 2022

Recent Match Report - Essex vs Warwickshire 2022

Warwickshire 76 for 2 trail Essex 168 (Westley 80, Briggs 4-31) by 92 runs

A day that captain Tom Westley described as “challenging” for Essex was compounded shortly before close when Dan Lawrence limped from the field with what appeared a nasty injury to his right hamstring that may prove to have implications for England as well.

Lawrence, who played in all three Tests against West Indies recently, pulled up as he was about to dive by the boundary having chased a ball from Dom Sibley to the rope. “I thought it was cramp initially, but it is something to do with his hamstring and the medical department are looking at it now,” Westley confirmed after play.

Although the first Test against New Zealand at Lord’s is still six weeks away, Lawrence has made a slow start to the season – his 30 here was his highest score in four innings – and any break from the game will allow rivals for the No. 4 slot the opportunity to impress. In contrast, Ollie Pope, his obvious rival, has begun smartly for Surrey.

Lawrence at least ranked among the most assured of the Essex batters this time before Oliver Hannon-Dalby swung one in to breach his defence. From 98 for 2, they lost five wickets for 11 runs inside nine overs and eight in all during a calamitous second session. Warwickshire’s bowlers must have felt like disbelieving seasiders by a slot machine pouring out coins.

“It was a bit bizarre,” Westley, his side’s top scorer by a distance, said. “There were some poor dismissals and some of the guys will be disappointed, but there is a bit in the pitch and I thought we were unlucky when we bowled, they could have been four or five down in reply.”

As defending champions, Warwickshire know what it takes to win a title. Skill, resilience, confidence and greed rank high among the attributes, but for what may prove the critical passage here a sense of gratitude seemed to be enough.

The pitch began a touch greener than the one that produced a high-scoring draw in Warwickshire’s previous game, against Surrey, but Alastair Cook, Westley and Lawrence had more than seen off the new ball. Although, having lost the toss, Warwickshire plugged away with a tightish line and full length, they were hardly abetted by 168 all out conditions.

Hannon-Dalby sparked the collapse and Liam Norwell, on his first appearance of the season after back spasms, struck in successive overs in his second spell. Danny Briggs then profited from botched attempts at aggression with four cheap wickets, a short boundary to one side proving enticing bait.

And all this without an appearance from Warwickshire’s overseas player, Nathan McAndrew, who is still to receive his visa. The club believe that an influx of applications from Ukraine have slowed the process; in the circumstances an allrounder from Australia is hardly the Home Office priority. The fact that Cricket Australia are helping to try to speed up the operation shows how keen they are for the 28-year-old, a late developer, to experience different conditions. Warwickshire expect the paperwork to be completed for McAndrew to face Somerset next week.

It is still too early, of course, to say that he will join a team with victory under their belts, especially if Essex can make inroads themselves on the second morning. But in the final session on Thursday, Sibley played with control off either foot having received a nice round of applause when he got off the mark after a golden duck in his only previous innings of the young season. When he was beaten – and Shane Snater and Sam Cook could both feel unlucky – he resumed unaffected.

Little had hinted at the way the initiative would veer towards Warwickshire after lunch. Nick Browne’s lavish drive at a wide ball from Hannon-Dalby was a rare misjudgement and Cook, though denied the opportunity to cut, looked solid until he pushed down the wrong line to Will Rhodes. Lawrence began smartly, taking five fours during one sequence of ten balls, while Westley found enough balls he could work into the leg side.

They added 61 before Hannon-Dalby gained reward for his persistence having struck Lawrence on the pad earlier in the over. Matt Critchley forced loosely and Adam Rossington proved just as guilty, slapping to cover. Adam Wheater was less culpable when he edged one from Norwell that climbed a touch and left him, but Simon Harmer’s attempt to hit Briggs over the top before he was off the mark felt the wrong stroke for the situation, especially with Westley well set.

When Snater and Mark Steketee fell hitting out, Westley could do no more than try to hog the strike and chance his arm. Operation Desperation did not last long and Westley was last out for 80 from 176 balls.

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