Warwickshire v Essex, Edgbaston, 3rd day August 27, 2010

Essex fight back in day of wickets

Essex 114 and and 99 for 3 v Warwickshire 155

Essex battled to keep open an escape route in the County Championship relegation struggle as 16 wickets went down on the third day of their basement clash with Warwickshire at Edgbaston.

In a match that has magnified the frailties of both teams, the home side scrambled a first innings advantage of 41 and then turned up the heat when Essex batted again for 34 overs. Chris Woakes bowled Jaik Mickleburgh with his second delivery and removed danger man Ravi Bopara for 13, but Billy Godleman (39) and Mathew Walker (33 not out) gave the southerners new hope in a tense final session. The game was finely balanced when they closed 58 ahead at 99 for 3.

In two meetings this month the bottom-of-the-table counties have not scored than 159 in six innings so far. Curiously Warwickshire have made 155 three times in a row, although they lost only three wickets in clinching their victory at Southend.

Essex established the lowest total in the sequence when collapsing for 114 despite a half-century by Bopara in their first knock on a seaming Edgbaston pitch. The England batsman went in first wicket down on the opening day and when Essex resumed at 90 for 7 after 36 hours' rain in Birmingham, he reached an unbeaten 53.

While Bopara managed to avoid most of he pitfalls - hitting seven fours from 86 balls - nine partners mustered 11 runs between them and six were out for ducks. Boyd Rankin mopped up the last three wickets for a career-best 5 for 16, but the Irishman bowled only one over in the second innings before leaving he field with a foot injury.

Warwickshire batsmen did not look any more secure than Essex as David Masters and Tony Palladino put them deep in trouble at 45 for 5. Masters ripped out the openers before lunch and the two seamers shared three more wickets in 12 balls at the start of the afternoon. Darren Maddy and Jim Troughton laboured for a dozen runs between them before falling to Palladino in the same over.

Ryan ten Doeschate also struck twice, the first time with a simple return catch from Rikki Clarke (24), but young wicketkeeper Richard Johnson showed he is more than capable as a batsman. Staying for over two hours, he top scored with 39 until he was last out, caught down the leg-side off Maurice Chambers. Neil Carter (28) was lbw to Danish Kaneria after assisting Johnson in the first half-century stand of the match.