Essex revive promotion hopes with big win
Essex 322 and 344 for 5 dec beat Leicestershire 274 and 138 by 254 runs
Essex revived their promotion hopes with a crushing 254-run victory over Leicestershire in the County Championship Division Two clash at Grace Road.
Having set Leicestershire a target of 393 Essex bowled them out for 138 in 49.2 overs to clinch their second successive Championship win after beating Northamptonshire in convincing fashion two weeks ago.
But it was another dismal batting performance by bottom-of-the-table Leicestershire who only three weeks ago in their last Championship game were dismissed for just 48 to lose by an innings and 155 runs to Northamptonshire.
Youngsters Tymal Mills and Tom Craddock played a major part in the Essex victory. Left-arm seamer Mills, only 18, took 3 for 48 in 10 impressive overs on his championship debut while leg-spinner Craddock, currently on trial with Essex, celebrated his 22nd birthday with eye-catching figures of two for 12 in 12 overs having claimed four wickets in the first innings.
Essex batted on for another five overs at the start of the day scoring 38 runs and allowing Owais Shah to complete his first century since joining them from Middlesex. He reached it with a straight six off Claude Henderson and was unbeaten on 112 off 147 balls when Essex declared on 344 for 5 giving them a lead of 392. Off-spinner Jigar Naik took 4 of the wickets at a cost of 89 runs.
Leicestershire made the worst possible start to the run chase with Will Jefferson out to the first ball of the innings edging David Masters to second slip. From that point on it was all downhill for the home side as their batting was blown away by some impressive bowling from Essex.
Greg Smith and James Taylor followed, while opener Matt Boyce top scored with 26 before becoming Mills' first victim, trapped lbw with a delivery that kept low. Tom New went in the same fashion to the same bowler and Wayne White had his leg stump knocked back by another excellent delivery from the 18-year-old.
That made it 91 for six and from there there was no way back for the home side. Craddock was brought into the attack and picked up the wickets of Naik, who was bowled by a delivery that kept low, and then Henderson, who chopped the ball back into his stumps.
A ninth-wicket stand between Andrew McDonald and Nadeem Malik delayed the inevitable for a time but Malik finally fell when he gloved a catch behind off Ryan ten Doeschate and, with Harry Gurney unable to bat because of injury, the home side were all out for 138.
Essex took 22 points from the win to keep alive their hopes of mounting a challenge for promotion while Leicestershire's four points left them rooted to the foot of the table.