Game: Essex v Yorkshire, Specsavers County Championship, Division One
Date: May 4-6, 2018
Venue: The Cloudfm County Ground, Chelmsford
Stage of the season: Fourth of 14 games
Essex: NLJ Browne, AN Cook, T Westley, DW Lawrence, RS Bopara, RN Ten Doeschate c, JS Foster w, SR Harmer, PM Siddle, JA Porter, SJ Cook
Yorkshire: A Lyth, HC Brook, CA Pujara, JE Root, GS Ballance c, JM Bairstow w, JA Leaning, TT Bresnan, SA Patterson, JA Brooks, BO Coad
Toss: Yorkshire won it and elected to bat first
Yorkshire secured one of the most remarkable victories in the history of the County Championship, recovering from being bowled out for 50 before lunch on day one to win inside three days. Only five teams had been bowled out for fewer in their first innings and won a Championship match. What made this low-scoring thriller all the more remarkable was the batting talent on show. Six of the White Rose’s top eight in their order were either current or former internationals, including Joe Root, Che Pujara and Jonny Bairstow. Twenty two wickets fell on day one, where Yorkshire ended it at 161-2 in their second innings with a lead of 69. Essex had been bowled out for 142 in their first innings, with Ben Coad, Jack Brooks and Tim Bresnan all claiming three wickets apiece in seamer-friendly conditions. After tea, the White Rose tinkered with their batting order, replacing opener Harry Brook with Jonny Bairstow, who would partner Adam Lyth. It was a decision which was the brainchild of England Test captain Root, and it worked a treat. Aimed at taking the attack to Essex, Bairstow hit a 44-ball 50 in an opening stand of 77, paving the way for teenager Brook to shine from number three with a stunning maiden century. Brook’s innings underpinned Yorkshire’s 329, setting Essex a stiff 238 target at tea on day two. They closed in trouble on 97-4, and the visitors completed the job before lunch the following day, signalling a second win in four matches as Essex were bowled out for 146. It was also reigning champions Essex’s first home defeat for 20 months. And the hero with the ball, a certain Steve Patterson, who claimed a career best 6-40 in his first appearance of the season following a broken finger.