Simmons' venom puts Warwicks on top against Essex

Vitality County Championship Division One, Cloud County Ground, Chelmsford (day two)

Warwickshire 397: Barnard 165, Burgess 108; Snater 3-58 & 43-5: Porter 2-17

Essex 162: Cox 47; Simmons 3-12, Yates 3-27

Warwickshire (6pts) lead Essex (2pts) by 278 runs with five wickets left.

Match scorecard

Che Simmons made a stunning impact on his first-class debut by blasting a hole in the Essex batting with three wickets in 15 balls as Warwickshire gained a stranglehold in the County Championship match at Chelmsford.

Simmons, 20, sent back Tom Westley, Nick Browne and Matt Critchley in a venomous opening spell that reduced Essex from 52-2 to 63-5 en route to 162 all out.

Simmons finished with 3-12 to enable Warwickshire to build upon Ed Barnard’s career-best 165 that underpinned their first innings score of 397.

Essex were dismissed inside 52 overs, 235 runs adrift, though Warwickshire opted not to enforce the follow-on and lost five wickets in 17.3 evening overs on day two while extending their lead by 43.

Captain Alex Davies departed to the fifth ball, steering Sam Cook to second slip, before Will Rhodes was undone by Jamie Porter and went lbw. Barnard was unable to replicate his first-innings heroics, chasing a Porter delivery down leg-side and was caught behind for a golden duck.

When Dan Mousley patted back Critchley’s second ball and Rob Yates fell to the last ball of the day, lbw to Simon Harmer, Warwickshire were starting to relive the nightmare of their first innings when they had slumped to 64-5.

Michael Rae, another Warwickshire debutant, set the ball rolling when Essex batted, with Feroze Khushi chipping tamely to mid-on, and Dean Elgar followed when edging an attempted cover drive off Oliver Hannon-Dalby to second slip.

Westley was induced to hook to short square leg where Sam Hain took his second catch inches off the ground. Browne then hung out his bat and was caught behind and next ball Critchley left his bat dangling and departed to the same combination.

Michael Pepper prevented Simmons celebrating even further by turning the hat-trick ball through mid-wicket. However, Hannon-Dalby replaced Simmons and had Pepper under-cutting and being caught behind.

Jordan Cox hit 47 off 60 balls, including seven fours and a six, before being bowled by Rob Yates, who wrapped up the innings for figures of 3-27.

Warwickshire batted for an hour and a half in the morning, Michael Burgess lasting just seven more balls while adding three to his overnight 105 to end a seventh-wicket stand of 209 with Barnard.

Simmons was as equally confident with the bat as with the ball before attempting to sweep Harmer and was bowled, with Rae falling the same way after launching Harmer’s previous two balls for sixes.

Barnard reached his 150 with a six and equalled his previous top score of 163 with another maximum over long leg but two runs later was caught in the deep.

Report supplied by ECB Reporters' Network.