Smith runs through Leicestershire
Essex 521 (Mickleburgh 243, Foakes 120) beat Leicestershire 365 (Eckersley 147, Napier 5-77) and 131 (Smith 5-42) by an innings and 25 runs
Essex boosted their promotion hopes by inflicting an innings-and-25-runs defeat on Leicestershire at Chelmsford. After the visitors had resumed on 47 for 3, still requiring 109 to make Essex bat again, they capitulated to 131 all out.
All their remaining wickets fell in an hour and 40 minutes, offspinner Greg Smith returning 5 for 42, the best figures of his career.
The visitors' hopes of making a fight of it quickly disappeared when they lost their overnight pair with the total on 62. Shiv Thakor put up a simple catch to Hamish Rutherford at leg slip to provide Smith with his third success of the innings while Joe Burns became a victim of left-arm paceman Tymal Mills.
When Josh Cobb was trapped lbw by Tom Craddock in the leg-spinner's opening over, Matt Boyce was left as the last of the recognised batsmen.
Captain Boyce, who yesterday sat out most of the action after suffering back spasms, battled bravely in an attempt to keep Essex at bay. He resisted for nearly an hour while making 19 but when he fell to a magnificent diving catch by James Foster off paceman Graham Napier, the tail, as it did in the first innings, was swept aside with ease.
Ollie Freckingham did at least have the satisfaction of striking five boundaries in a belligerent 24 before holing out in the deep against Napier, but that was of little consolation to Leicestershire as they were left rooted to the foot of the table and still searching for their first Championship win of the summer.
Essex, meanwhile, were able to celebrate the double over Leicestershire having beaten them by four wickets last month. It was also their fourth win of the Championship campaign. It was one that earned them 21 points and saw Napier emerge with match figures of 7 for 90. Leicestershire were left with to settle for just five points from a disappointing performance.