Porter and Harmer shine for Essex as bowlers dominate across the country

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Jamie Porter and Simon Harmer bowled defending champions Essex back into their opening Specsavers County Championship match of the season after they were skittled for 150 inside two sessions by Lancashire’s seamers.

A total of 127 wickets fell on the opening day of nine matches across the two divisions on Friday with 18 coming at Chelmsford.

Porter and Harmer, who shared 147 wickets in Essex’s title triumph last year, claimed four apiece to put the brakes on Lancashire as the visitors finished nine runs behind with two wickets remaining.

Lancashire’s Australian seamer Joe Mennie earlier took three for 52 as the heart was ripped out of the Essex batting in just 50 overs, with Graham Onions, Tom Bailey and Jordan Clark chipping in with two wickets each.

At Headingley, Andrew Hodd’s resolute 62 followed by runs and wickets for Jack Brooks helped Yorkshire hit back from early strife against Nottinghamshire.

The hosts slipped to 93 for five before lunch but finished the day with a total of 256 on the board and the visitors in bother at 53 for four.

At Taunton, Matt Renshaw marked his Somerset debut with an unbeaten century as 18 wickets fell in the match with Worcestershire.

The Australia Test opener finished 101 not out in a total of 202. James Hildreth contributed 48, while Ed Barnard claimed five for 52 from 16 overs – his maiden five-wicket haul in first class cricket.

In reply, Worcestershire plunged to 48 for five, Lewis Gregory claiming three wickets in his opening spell, before closing on 153 for eight with Travis Head making 49.

In the other Division One match, four-wicket hauls from Fidel Edwards and Liam Dawson put Hampshire in early command against Surrey at the Oval as the home side collapsed to 211 all out.

By stumps, however, Hampshire were a wobbly 52 for three with Rikki Clarke snaring openers Lewis McManus and Jimmy Adams.

Fidel Edwards
Fidel Edwards took four wickets for Hampshire (John Walton/Empics)

The South Africa batsman, signed as an overseas player for the 2018 season, and his team-mates were dismissed for 91 in the first innings, but bounced back to bowl Kent out for 169.

New Zealander Matt Henry was the star with the ball for Kent and he dismissed Markram for a second time with six overs left in the final session to take his sixth wicket of the day as Durham were left trailing by 65 runs.

Sussex were the only side in either division not to be bowled out after batting first on Friday, as they closed on 254 for seven against Leicestershire at Grace Road.

It would have been even better for Sussex but they lost Ben Brown (64), Luke Wright (88) and Ollie Robinson (nought) in the final 10 overs of the day.

At Derby, South African fast bowler Hardus Viljoen rescued Derbyshire with the bat in their meeting with Middlesex.

Viljoen made an unbeaten 60 – his first fifty for the county – as the home side recovered from 167 for seven to make 265 before reducing Middlesex to 45 for three at the close.

Elsewhere, Marchant de Lange helped himself to his best first-class bowling figures in Glamorgan colours as the Welsh county took the upper hand against Gloucestershire.

The 27-year-old South African took five for 62 as the hosts were bowled out for 236 in Bristol, before Glamorgan reached 26 without loss in response.

At Wantage Road, Ryan Sidebottom took six for 35 as Warwickshire enjoyed a dominant first day by bowling Northamptonshire out for just 147 before closing on 113 for three.

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