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RESULT
4th Match, Nottingham, April 05 - 08, 2024, County Championship Division One
253 & 374/9d
(T:335) 293 & 80

Essex won by 254 runs

Report

Essex battle back with Sam Cook hat-trick after Joe Clarke ton

Notts lose last six wickets for 34 runs as visitors regain advantage

Joe Clarke turns the ball off his legs, Hampshire vs Nottinghamshire, Ageas Bowl, County Championship, April 6, 2023

Joe Clarke's hundred earned a first-innings lead for Notts  •  Getty Images

Essex 253 and 65 for 1 lead Nottinghamshire 293 (Clarke 104, Haynes 77, Cook 4-59) by 25 runs
A Joe Clarke century was the highlight as Nottinghamshire secured a 40-run first-innings lead on day two of their Vitality County Championship match against Essex, although they may regret not building a bigger advantage after a late collapse saw them lose their last six wickets for 34, which included a Sam Cook hat-trick.
Essex had their noses in front again by the close, although they lost Feroze Khushi to a catch at first slip, finishing on 65 for 1. A further twist to an eventful final session may follow if what appeared to be Khushi's bat is confirmed to have exceeded the regulation size after an on-field check by the umpires required it to be changed.
Clarke made 104, sharing a partnership of 159 with Nottinghamshire debutant Jack Haynes, who hit 77. But Clarke's dismissal prompted a collapse from 259 for 4 to 293 all out, Cook dismissing Lyndon James, Brett Hutton and Dillon Pennington with consecutive deliveries in his first over with the second new ball to finish with figures of 4 for 59.
It was the 26-year-old seamer's second senior hat-trick - his first came against Kent in the Vitality Blast last summer - and the first by an Essex bowler in first-class cricket since Danish Kaneria achieved the feat against Derbyshire in 2009.
Essex had earlier been dismissed for 253 in their first innings as Nottinghamshire needed only 13 deliveries at the start of the morning to pick up the one wicket needed overnight, although Jamie Porter was able to secure a first batting point of the season before he was caught at first slip as Pennington grabbed a second debut wicket.
Essex, who had themselves suffered a collapse from 170 for 2, recovered to have the home side three down at lunch in reply. Nottinghamshire openers Haseeb Hameed and Ben Duckett looked comfortable initially, but when Shane Snater relieved Porter at the Radcliffe Road he dismissed Duckett with his first delivery, which did enough to pass the edge of the England left-hander's defensive bat and clip off stump.
Cook followed up with a leg before against Ben Slater before Hameed, dropped at first slip off Porter on 28, perished in Porter's next over, caught behind for 32.
From 93 for 3 at lunch, Nottinghamshire were 100 for 4 soon afterwards, losing Matt Montgomery to a catch by Simon Harmer at second slip as Snater found enough movement away to claim a second wicket. The Netherlands international's career-best 7 for 98 came on this ground in 2021.
Yet Essex could make no further inroads in the afternoon session as Clarke and Haynes took control. Clarke, who enjoyed his best season as a Nottinghamshire batter in 2023, seemed to reach a turning point with his match-saving marathon 229 not out against Warwickshire in June. Since then he has looked like a batter with more clarity in his process without compromising his ability to inflict damage on opponents.
For four hours it looked like something similar might be on the cards again, his focus rarely drifting as he passed fifty with a pull for six off Paul Walter and completed his 21st career hundred by sweeping and cutting Harmer for consecutive fours, moments of aggression in the context of well-judged progress. Little wonder that his shoulders slumped after a rare loose shot saw him caught at mid-on.
It had been a fine innings, nonetheless, with 16 fours and that one six, as was that of his young partner, another former Worcestershire batter, albeit one whose senior debut came after Clarke had left New Road. Haynes played shots that were pleasing on the eye, any debut nerves seemingly calmed by Clarke's assuredness at the other end.
Their partnership added 159 in a little over 44 overs, putting Nottinghamshire in a seemingly strong position, six runs in front. Yet the breaking of it by offspinner Harmer's first wicket of the season let Essex back in, with Haynes soon falling to another tame dismissal, a full toss spooned to mid-on, caught by sub fielder Ben Allison, on briefly for Cook.
It left the home side with two new batters and the new ball due, one with which Cook promptly took a hat-trick, trapping James and Pennington leg before, with Hutton bowled by a corker in between. Porter wrapped things up by bowling Dane Paterson.

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County Championship Division One

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