Essex v Yorkshire: Hosts edge closer to unbeaten Championship season

Neil Wagner
New Zealand seamer Neil Wagner began the season with Essex and returned for their final three Championship games
Specsavers County Championship Division One, Cloudfm County Ground (day two):
Essex 227 & 134-2: Lawrence 75*, Browne 53*
Yorkshire 111: Wagner 3-21, Porter 3-29, Harmer 3-36
Essex lead Yorkshire by 250 runs
Essex 4 pts, Yorkshire 3 pts

Champions Essex are on the verge of ending the season unbeaten after earning a first-innings lead of 116 against Yorkshire at Chelmsford.

Yorkshire, whose survival in Division One was assured on the first day, collapsed to 111 all out in 45.1 overs replying to Essex's 227 all out.

Jamie Porter, Simon Harmer and Neil Wagner took three wickets apiece.

The hosts reached 134-2 at the close, leading by 250, with Dan Lawrence and Nick Browne making unbeaten fifties.

Lawrence (75 not out) made a second-innings hundred in Essex's win over Hampshire in their previous outing and he led his side's recovery after Jack Brooks had dismissed Varun Chopra and Ravi Bopara to leave the home team 6-2.

Should Essex avoid defeat in this match, they will be the second successive team to win the County Championship title without losing a game.

Middlesex, the 2016 champions, won six and drew 10 of their 16 matches last season, while Essex had nine wins and four draws from their 13 games before their final fixture of 2017.

Essex fast bowler Neil Wagner:

"The other two (Porter and Harmer) have definitely made my job a hell of a lot lighter. They have bowled really well, exceptionally well, in the last couple of games - I haven't had to bowl many overs.

"It was more just sitting and watching, admiring what they were doing. On the back of what they have created it's been pretty awesome.

"It was nice to get a few overs in today and get the rhythm ticking and getting the ball to swing a bit which is quite pleasing for me personally.

"The wicket of Adam Lyth was a big one. He's a good player, a dangerous player, the type of player who can take the game away from you."

Yorkshire seamer Ben Coad:

"It wasn't ideal, but we've stuck at it really well with the ball. We were quite unlucky. If we keep doing that, we'll get our rewards.

"I don't think the pitch has got any flatter. It's still nipping around. It's just that its doing it a bit slower now.

"We never wanted to be looking at this end of the table at the start of the year.

"Galey (coach Andrew Gale) said we can't finish that low again. It's not been the best season, but hopefully we'll turn it around next year."