Gloucestershire face innings defeat
Gloucestershire 180 and 55 for 5 trail Essex 364 by 129 runs
Essex look certain to open their Division Two campaign with victory against Gloucestershire after their bowlers dominated the second day's play at Chelmsford.
After bowling out Gloucestershire for 180 to establish a first-innings lead of 184 and enforcing the follow on, Essex reduced them to 55 for five in their second, still requiring 129 to avoid an innings defeat. Gloucestershire had no answer to a pace attack that displayed both venom and accuracy, with the ever-reliable David Masters leading the way. Masters, a few days short of his 34th birthday and following a season when he took 93 wickets, has so far picked up five more in the match.
Graham Napier sent Gloucestershire on the slippery slope in their second innings in an opening spell of 3-20. Among his scalps was Richard Coughtrie, the opener, who bagged a pair, his second duck spanning 33 deliveries.
Masters then nipped in for the wickets of Dan Housego and Hamish Marshall before bad light spared a possible defeat in two days, coming to their rescue with 15 overs still remaining.
Gloucestershire's first innings was also a grim affair. It was something of a surprise that they arrived at lunch on 82-2 considering the torrid time they experienced at the hands of Maurice Chambers and Masters. Both beat the bat on numerous occasions without reward, while several edges dropped just short or wide of fielders or flew over the slip cordon.
In that pre-lunch session Chambers found enough swing to have Coughtrie caught low down at second slip and Tymal Mills roared in to york Chris Dent for a gutsy 38. But in the afternoon session, bowlers were completely dominant as the innings disintegrated and the remaining wickets fell before tea.
Masters started the procession when he had Alex Gidman caught behind during a nine-over spell costing 18. In between, the impressive Chambers got rid of Marshall and Ian Cockbain to pave the way for the powerfully-built Mills to make further inroads.
Sheer pace was his major weapon as he trapped Will Gidman leg before and forced James Fuller to play on.