Cox, Critchley lead Essex to comeback win over Warwickshire

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

LONDON: Jordan Cox and Matt Critchley did the damage as title hopefuls Essex chased down a target of 330 to complete a superb four-wicket comeback win over Warwickshire at Chelmsford.

Cox led the way with 112 and shared in a club-record fifth-wicket partnership against Warwickshire of 176 in 54 overs with Critchley that took Essex within sight of victory.Critchley deserved a century of his own but was was left stranded on 99 not out when Simon Harmer pulled the winning boundary off Che Simmons quarter of an hour before the scheduled lunch interval on day four.

Essex’s third win of the season kept them on the heels of defending champions Surrey at the top of the Vitality County Championship. Warwickshire, meanwhile, were left to rue what might have been.

The match had swung every which way during the first three days with both sides in the ascendancy at various times. Warwickshire had recovered from 104 for six to gain a first-innings lead of 235, but declined to enforce the follow-on.When they were dismissed for 94 second time around, that decision came under the microscope. It left Essex needing 330 to win in more than five sessions.

The hosts resumed the final day on 224 for four with Cox on 77 and Critchley on 46 and those two took Essex to within 42 runs of victory before finally being parted. Cox, having reached his second century for Essex, was the man to fall when he flicked Simmons’ first ball off his legs to Jacob Bethell on the deep square-leg boundary.

That reignited Warwickshire and Michael Rae bowled Michael Pepper cheaply to leave Essex on 293 for six.But Critchley and Harmer ensured there was no late twist in the tale as Essex closed the gap on leaders Surrey.