Lancashire made history today. The Red Rose county incredibly bowled Essex out for just 20 in their second innings to win their third LV= County Championship match of the season by an innings and 105 runs at Chelmsford.
Everybody inside the compact ground off New Writtle Street watched on in disbelief as Glen Chapple and Kyle Hogg (pictured) ripped through the home side’s batting order to clinch 23 points with more than four sessions of this match to spare.
Essex were bowled out inside 14.4 overs and 68 minutes of carnage between 2.10pm and 3.18pm as Chapple returned 5-9 from 7.2 overs and Hogg 4-11 from seven.
The day which ended with Lancashire’s players celebrating with a drink and a laugh on the outfield had started with Chapple and Hogg excelling with the bat as the Red Rose’s last three wickets added 190 runs to increase the pressure on the hosts.
Chapple scored 50 not out, Hogg 58 and Simon Kerrigan 31 - not forgetting Simon Katich’s brilliant 122. The Australian, however, was out having added just two runs to his overnight total.
Hogg and Katich had added 69 for the eighth wicket, Hogg and Chapple 69 for the ninth and Chapple and Kerrigan 52 for the 10th wicket to turn up the heat on Essex with a score of 398 in reply to 273, equating to a lead of 125. When it’s your day, it’s your day.
This was also county cricket's lowest total since May 1983 when Surrey scored 14 against Essex on this ground. The amazing thing about today was that the conditions for batting were not too bad.
“There's no point trying to explain what happened,” said captain Chapple. “Everything that could have gone for us did so. It started with a couple of good partnerships in the morning and then two catches at mid-off.
“We know that wickets can go quickly because the new man is under pressure, but you don't often see the whole team succumbing in that sense. I'm sure they'll be pretty gutted about it, but we're delighted.
“It's definitely one of the best days of cricket I've had in my career because things just don't happen like that. In terms of it being memorable, it's right up there.”
Funnily enough, the third day had started with the match firmly in the balance, although Lancashire just had their noses in front on 266-7. Katich departed early before Hogg, Chapple and Kerrigan really turned the screw with some excellent batting against the second new ball.
Hogg reached his half-century off 119 balls before Chapple’s came off 77.
“For me to score a fifty is something I'm pleased with because I've been short of runs, there's no denying that. Whilst I've been playing well, I haven't been getting the scores I'd like,” added Chapple.
Lancashire’s bowling performance, which also included a direct hit run out from Chapple to get James Foster out, will take all the headlines. But their lower order batting played a significant part in proceedings.
“They were still in the game in the morning. We were seven down, but we batted well and that partnership at the end really knocked the stuffing out of them,” said Hogg.
“I know as a bowler that there's nothing worse than not being able to get nine, 10 and 11 out when they're scoring runs. The momentum was with us. We knew if we knocked a few over early on, they'd be under pressure big time.”
The tone was set for Essex’s innings when Tom Westley and New Zealand Test batsman Hamish Rutherford surrendered meekly to Hogg by driving him to mid-off.
From there, the wickets tumbled at some rate to put Lancashire into second in Division Two. There were six lbw, including Ryan ten Doeschate shouldering arms to Chapple and not even waiting for the umpire to stick his finger up before he started his journey back to the pavilion, and two golden ducks for Graham Napier and last man Reece Topley.
Hogg added: “We've been involved in a piece of history, and that's what you play the game for. This kind of day makes up for all the bad days. That was unreal. It will probably sink in a few weeks.
“We bowled well, but when you get the first two caught at mid-off, it probably sends the wrong message to the dressing room. They'd been out there in the field for 120 overs, but they were under pressure immediately. We were on fire.”
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Photos (c) Simon Pendrigh