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County Championship: Warwickshire ease past Essex by 10 wickets to pick up first win of season

Dom Sibley
Dom Sibley made 33 and 41 not out against Essex after opening the season with a duck
LV= County Championship Division One, Edgbaston, Birmingham (day four)
Essex 168 & 323: Harmer 75*, Rossington 52, Critchley 49; Miles 4-85, Hannon-Dalby 3-46
Warwickshire 385 & 110-0: Davies 65*, Sibley 41*
Warwickshire (22 pts) beat Essex (2 pts) by 10 wickets
Scorecard

Warwickshire picked up their first win of the season as they completed a commanding 10-wicket victory over Essex on the final day at Edgbaston.

After Essex resumed on 290-8, Bears seamer Craig Miles (4-85) quickly wrapped up the visitors’ innings for 323, with Simon Harmer unbeaten on 75.

Set 107 to win, Dom Sibley (41 not out) and Alex Davies (65 not out) took the Bears unscathed to lunch at 40-0.

Davies reached 50 before Sibley hit the winning runs 50 minutes after lunch.

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Warwickshire had opened their Division One season with a draw against Surrey, while Essex lost their unbeaten start following victory over Somerset and a draw with Kent.

Facing an uphill task to give himself and the rest of the Essex attack a target they could defend, Harmer showed his intent early on, smashing the second ball of the day through point for four and taking Miles for two further boundaries.

However, at the other end, Miles trapped Mark Steketee lbw in just the third over of the day and then, in the ninth over, had Sam Cook caught behind by Michael Burgess to end the Essex resistance.

Davies, making his delayed Warwickshire debut after signing from Lancashire, started the chase tentatively, surviving a strong Essex appeal for a catch in the slips and taking 34 balls to get off the mark, achieved with a thick outside edge for four.

But he gradually picked up the pace, overtaking his partner, England Test opener Sibley, and moving to his 34th first-class 50, finishing with 11 fours in his unbeaten 65.

Essex took to the field without England’s Dan Lawrence, who batted with a runner on Saturday after picking up a hamstring injury on day two.

After a scan on his hamstring, Lawrence will certainly miss Essex’s next game against Northants, but coach Anthony McGrath is not yet sure exactly how long he will be out.

Warwickshire first-team coach Mark Robinson told BBC CWR:

“You can’t beat four-day wins. They’re always hard work and hard graft. It gets your season up and running. You want to get that first win under your belt as soon as you can.

“You don’t want any dramas or any heroics from 10 and 11, but Craig Miles flew in and finished their innings. Then it was just a matter of those first 40 or 50 runs without any dramas. Alex Davies and Dom Sibley were very calm, very professional and very clinical.”

Warwickshire captain Will Rhodes:

“It was a very professional performance. It highlights the strides we have made in the last two years. In Championship cricket it can be short periods that turn a game. We always say you can’t win a game in a session but you can go a long way to losing it and we went a long way to pushing them out of the game on the first afternoon.

“Then we batted ourselves into a position of strength. All 12 players contributed, a really good collective effort. Essex are the team that we strive to be like. I think we have taken snippets of how they play and added them to our game.”

Essex head coach Anthony McGrath:

“The hour after lunch on the first day, when we lost a lot of wickets, really put us behind the eight-ball. To make 168 on a good wicket, you are not going to win too many games from there.

“We fought back well but when you are facing a deficit of over 200 it’s going to be tough to save the game. We scrapped but didn’t have anyone who made the big hundreds and the big partnerships and that cost us. It’s a match to forget for us, really.

“Dan Lawrence has had a scan on his hamstring. We don’t know how long he’s going to be out yet. Hopefully it’s not as bad as it at first felt. The specialist will give is his expert view so hopefully we’ll get a bit of good news but he will certainly miss the Northants game.”

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