Northants crumble to defeat as Essex wrap up impressive innings victory
Northamptonshire secured just a single bonus point as they suffered a thumping innings and 92-run defeat against Essex at Chelmsford.
The home side wasted little time picking up the six Northants wickets they needed on the final day to secure their second Specasavers County Championship win of the season.
With the County four down by lunch, Ryan ten Doeschate - who claimed figures of four for 31- and Graham Napier returned to wrap up the victory within 17 balls after the break.
Facing a race against the forecast rain and with Northants resuming on 148 for four following on, Essex got their day off to a flying start, as Jamie Porter picked up his eighth wicket of the match - and 22nd of the season - making a delivery rear at Richard Levi, who fended to point where Dan Lawrence took a fine catch in the third over of the day.
This brought Adam Rossington, who made an unbeaten 67 and was Northants’ main source of resistance on the third day, to the crease.
In the company of nightwatchman Azharullah, Rossington dug in once more, sharing 21 in 17 overs until ten Doeschate, the fifth bowler used by Essex, pinned him leg before playing back.
At the other end, Azharullah had lived a rather charmed life, edging just short of Alastair Cook at first slip in the first over of the day, and later had another fall just short of fourth slip.
Between times, when Azharullah was on 6, James Foster shelled a tough chance diving one-handed to his right off the same bowler.
David Murphy came and went, playing a beautiful straight drive, then almost being caught and bowled, and slapping straight to mid-on, all in a single ten Doeschate over.
With the last ball of his next, the Essex captain ended Azharullah’s resistance as he was adjudged LBW.
With Rory Kleinveldt and Richard Gleeson defending stoically - and peppering the third man boundary - Essex extended the morning session by 15 minutes in pursuit of the final two wickets.
After 12 of those minutes - and a couple more loud LBW appeals, the players left the field as a passing shower struck.
The win, which was set up by half-centuries for each of Essex’s top five as they amassed 441 for eight across the rain-ravaged first two days, was secured almost immediately after the break.
Gleeson miscued ten Doeschate straight to fine-leg 14 balls after lunch, and while Kleinveldt hammered him down the ground for four next ball, Napier returned to finish the job, castling Ben Sanderson with a perfect yorker second ball to secure Essex’s place atop the division two going into the fourth round of matches, when they head to New Road to face Worcestershire.
Northants are also back in action this weekend when they start a four-day match against Derbyshire at the County Ground on Sunday.
Scores: Essex 441-8 (Bopara 76, Cook 65, Westley 64, Browne 60, Lawrence 51, Sanderson 5-108) beat Northants 119 all out (Rossington 67no, Porter 5-46) & 230 all out (Duckett 58, Kleinveldt 35no, ten Doeschate 4-31) by an innings and 92 runs. Essex 23 pts, Northants 1pt