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County Championship: Burgess century helps Bears get right on top against Essex

Bears centurion Michael Burgess shared a stand of 113 for the fifth wicket with Matt Lamb
Bears centurion Michael Burgess shared a stand of 113 for the fifth wicket with Matt Lamb
LV= County Championship Division One, Edgbaston, Birmingham (day two)
Essex 168: Westley 80; Briggs 4-31, Hannon-Dalby 3-43 & 0-1: Hannon-Dalby 1-0
Warwickshire 385: Burgess 170, Lamb 71, Sibley 33; Steketee 4-130, S Cook 3-72
Essex (2 pts) trail Warwickshire (6 pts) by 217 runs with nine wickets remaining

Warwickshire wicketkeeper Michael Burgess hit his second big century in successive innings at Edgbaston to help bat the Bears into a position of real strength against Essex.

Following his 178 in the reigning county champions’ opening game against Surrey 12 days ago, Burgess made 170 out of a first-innings total of 385.

That earned the hosts a whopping 217-run first-innings lead.

Oliver Hannon-Dalby then removed Nick Browne for a seven-ball duck.

After taking three first-innings wickets, and then again impressing with the bat, Hannon-Dalby struck with the first ball of the last over of the day in Essex’s second innings.

Forced to face just three overs, Browne and Alastair Cook both played out maidens before Hannon-Dalby had Browne caught by Sam Hain at second slip.

After resuming on 76-2, Warwickshire lost England opener Dom Sibley on his overnight score of 33 when Shane Snater had him caught behind off the first ball of the day.

Snater then had home skipper Will Rhodes superbly caught by Simon Harmer at second slip in his next over.

From 86-4, the Bears lost only one more wicket in the morning session – Hain for 29, as they recovered to reach 148-5 at lunch, just 20 runs behind. But it was the 113-run sixth-wicket stand between Matt Lamb and Burgess that overhauled Essex and stretched Warwickshire well clear.

Even when Sam Cook clean bowled Lamb for 71 and had Danny Briggs superbly grabbed by Alastair Cook at slip for 6, the Bears carried on accumulating.

From 261-7 at tea, they added another 124 runs.

The determined Hannon-Dalby, who scored an unbeaten 11 in helping Burgess share 122 off 33 overs for the last wicket against Surrey, did not manage a run but he lasted almost an hour to help add a further 47 with Burgess, who was by this time going through his full range of shots.

Craig Miles, batting number 12 on the card as a concussion substitute after Liam Norwell was hit on the head, helped Burgess add a further 64 for the last wicket. And the carnage was only ended when Burgess was bowled attempting a scoop shot to give Mark Steketee his fourth wicket.

First professional contract for Manraj Johal

Warwickshire have given young home-grown fast bowler Manraj Johal his first full professional contract.

Birmingham-born Johal has signed a new two-year deal, tying him to Edgbaston until the end of the 2023 season.

Johal made his first-team debut last summer, playing in eight One-Day Cup games and coming in for Chris Woakes to claim match figures of 4-59 in the Bob Willis Trophy final win over Lancashire.

Warwickshire wicketkeeper Michael Burgess:

“We knew it was going to be difficult early on. I have batted a few times with Lamby now and love batting out there with him and then at the end OHD was brilliant again.

“He took a few on the body and just showed again how much it means to him and all the team. The wicket he picked up right at the end was just rewards.

“Olly is the heart and soul of the dressing room and his performance out there with bat and ball typified him. He is an amazing guy.

“Fingers crossed for a speedy recovery for Liam Norwell. Craig came on as concussion substitute, when he had just done a commentary stint half an hour before, and had to suddenly go out and bat and he did really well.”

Essex head coach Anthony McGrath:

“On the first day with the bat we gave quite a few soft wickets away but then fought back really well. We were unlucky to only get two wickets on Thursday night and then had them 124-5.

“At the end things got away from us a little bit, but that can happen. Michael Burgess played absolutely magnificently and very smart, and once they got in front the momentum changed a little bit.

“We hope, first and foremost that Liam Norwell is well. The concussion sub rule is there because we just want everyone to be safe and I have absolutely no problem with it.

“Dan Lawrence has pulled a hamstring. We haven’t been able to get him a scan because the hospitals are very busy so won’t find out the severity until we get confirmation from the specialist. But he will only bat if absolutely necessary.”

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