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Les Smith at Chelmsford
June 14, 2013
Lancashire 398 (Katich 122, Prince 56) beat Essex 273 (Foster 82, ten Doeschate 77) and 20 (Chapple 5-9, Hogg 4-11) by an innings and 105 runs
Essex were bowled out for 20, registering the lowest score in their history in falling to a heavy, three-day defeat on an astonishing afternoon at Chelmsford. Kyle Hogg and Glen Chapple ripped through them in the space of 14 overs and 68 minutes on a flat pitch, as the procession of batsmen entering and leaving the field became almost bewildering.
It was as if a collective panic possessed Essex, and the sense of shock in the crowd was palpable, reawakening tensions that had threatened to erupt earlier in the season after an innings defeat to Northamptonshire that the coach, Paul Grayson, afterwards described as "shambolic" in issuing a public apology. He may now have to quell further unrest.
"I don't know what to say to be honest because I'm still in a state of shock," Grayson said. "Nothing has been said in the dressing room because now is not the right time but we are all coming in tomorrow for a chat and we'll reflect and analyse then what happened.
"Emotions are running very high at the moment as you can imagine, there's not a lot of singing and dancing going on. As I say, I'm lost for words. It was a good wicket probably one of the best all year that we could have batted on at Chelmsford but 20 all out, it's amazing.''
Although there have been 29 first-class innings that have ended on a lower note, the majority occurred in the days of uncovered pitches. The most recent example in the Championship came exactly 30 years ago, when Essex were the tormentors, bowling out Surrey for 14. Last year, Durham dismissed Durham MCCU for 18, leading to questions about the first-class status of university matches.
Only one batsman, Jaik Mickleburgh, achieved double figures and although three of the wickets were due to errors by batsmen, the rest were the result of dead straight bowling. The whole business was particularly puzzling as Hogg and Chapple had themselves scored 58 and 50 respectively earlier in the day.
"We've been involved in a piece of history," said Hogg, who described the action as "unreal". Chapple, who has been playing for more than 20 years, said: "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."
In retrospect it's surprising that it took Lancashire eleven balls to take their first wicket. The first two to fall, both taken by Hogg, were preventable - top-order batsmen playing loose shots. Tom Westley drove to extra cover, where Simon Katich dived forward to hold an excellent catch. Hamish Rutherford played a similar shot and Chapple didn't have to move at mid-off.
The next dismissal was the first three of six lbws in the innings. Owais Shah played across the line to Hogg, then Ryan ten Doeschate was so plum that he walked before the umpire had time to raise his finger, and Chapple had the first of his four. Next Hogg trapped Ben Foakes, and at that stage had figures of 4 for 3.
What Essex needed least in the midst of such carnage was a run out, but that's what they managed to contrive. Mickleburgh called James Foster for a quick single and Chapple, fielding off his own bowling, threw down Foster's stumps. It was turning into pandemonium.
Chapple mopped up the remaining four wickets. He had Graham Napier - Essex's beacon of light in a season fast becoming shrouded in darkness - leg-before first ball, then castled Sajid Mahmood.
Mickleburgh had observed all the mayhem from the non-striker's end, and there was speculation about the lowest score for a batsman carrying his bat until he was ninth out for 10, comfortably the highest score of the innings. The end came one ball later when Chapple rapped Reece Topley on the pads. Six batsmen had failed to score.
In the morning session the Lancashire tail had shown what could be done on this pitch. They resumed seven runs behind with three wickets in hand and looking to Katich to extend his overnight century. He did so, but only by two, and a narrow lead appeared likely.
But there can be few better No. 9s in the County Championship than Hogg, and Chapple can hold a bat as well. Together they put on 69 for the ninth wicket before David Masters knocked back Hogg's middle stump. Even then the scoring wasn't over as Simon Kerrigan joined his captain and helped him add 52 more.
There was no indication of the stunning stuff to come. Lunch was taken late as Lancashire were nine wickets down at 1pm, so the Essex innings began at around 2.20pm. By 3.30pm it was all over.
Essex scored 30 against Yorkshire at Leyton in 1901, their previous lowest score. What's more, this was the lowest-ever total by any team against Lancashire, dipping under the 22 scored by Glamorgan at Liverpool in 1924.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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