Simon Harmer’s career-best match figures of 14-128 ensured that Essex crushed Warwickshire on Thursday.
The former Proteas tweaker took full advantage when asked to bowl first-change in the first innings. Harmer’s first scalp was Warwickshire opener Ian Westwood, caught for 22. Former England batsman Ian Bell was the next to fall to the off-break bowler, after he was sent on his way for 32.
The five-Test Protea had to work hard for his wickets, but as the day wore on, he reaped the rewards for his efforts. The mode of dismissal for three of his next four wickets was the same, trapping them lbw and completing a catch off his own bowling, to see off Jeetan Patel for a 72-ball 71. Harmer’s innings return of 6-92 handed Essex a healthy first innings lead of 258 runs.
After being asked to follow on, Warwickshire’s second dig was dismal, to say the least. Harmer’s hard graft in the first innings immediately paid dividends in the second. Bowling first-change yet again, he trapped Andrew Umeed lbw for 21.
It was a procession from then on as Harmer struck with regularity. Harmer single-handedly dismantled the Warwickshire batting lineup, ensuring that the last five wickets were taken for the addition of a mere 20 runs. It was fitting that Harmer should put the seal on an outstanding performance, after he sent Sukhjit Singh on his way for a duck, Warwickshire all out for just 94.
Harmer’s sensational career-best figures of 8-36 allowed Essex to tighten their grip on the top spot in Division One of the County Championship.
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