Yorkshire slipped to a second Specsavers County Championship defeat of the season as Essex maintained the pressure on Somerset at the top of Division One.
The White Rose lost by eight wickets inside three days at Chelmsford, where Essex have won five from five in 2019 and briefly moved to the top of Division One by a point.
Yorkshire’s second defeat, added to last month’s loss against Warwickshire at York, was confirmed after tea as the visitors chased 92.
South African overseas spinner Keshav Maharaj hit a swashbuckling 85 off 71 balls, including five sixes, to frustrate Essex during an entertaining start to the afternoon.
But, unfortunately, it was not enough to alter the course of the game.
Yorkshire had conceded a first-innings lead of 120 and started the day on 38-3 before losing Adam Lyth and Harry Brook lbw inside 30 minutes of play.
Yorkshire’s performance in gaining three points against a side strongly challenging title favourites Somerset was one which backed up what senior figures have been saying since the end of last season – that they are a team with plenty of development ahead.
After day two, coach Andrew Gale bemoaned soft dismissals in the first innings (208) as the key reason for their struggles.
Essex, champions in 2017, were relentless with the ball on the third morning, with seamers Jamie Porter and Peter Siddle setting them on their way as Yorkshire fell to 58-5.
Porter trapped Lyth lbw in the day’s fourth over as the score fell to 52-4 in the 25th before Australian Siddle removed Brook the same way three overs later.
Jonny Tattersall and Matthew Fisher added 29 before the former was caught at leg slip by Dan Lawrence for 14 off Harmer – 81-6 in the 40th.
Maharaj counter-attacked against Harmer, hitting his compatriot for a slog-swept six over mid-wicket.
But Harmer, who had by now switched to bowling around the wicket, had Fisher (16) lbw in the 48th over as Yorkshire fell to 110-7.
The visitors reached lunch on 116-7, a deficit of four.
Maharaj cut Porter for four at the end of the afternoon’s second over to ensure Essex would have to bat again, only for Steve Patterson to edge the same bowler to Sir Alastair Cook at first slip shortly afterwards, leaving the score at 129-8.
But Maharaj continued to attack and hit Harmer for two more sixes – straight and over deep mid-wicket – either side of being dropped on 43 at deep mid-wicket by Siddle. The latter ensured he reached 50 off 46 balls.
In all, he shared 64 inside 10 overs with Ben Coad for the ninth wicket prior to being bowled by Siddle (193-9).
Coad, who later did not take the field in Essex’s chase due to a sore calf, was then caught at first slip off Porter to wrap up the innings on 211 shortly before tea.
Essex’s chase started with Cook offering chance to Tom Kohler-Cadmore, diving to his right, at first slip on nought off Patterson.
The same combination removed the ex-England captain shortly afterwards (22-1) before Maharaj had Westley stumped for 31 after tea – 61-2. Opener Nick Browne finished 33 not out, with 20.2 overs remaining in the day.
Essex have won six of their last seven games, the odd one out being the rain-affected draw against Yorkshire at Emerald Headingley in early June.
They moved a point clear of Somerset, who are still in action against Nottinghamshire at Taunton. The White Rose’s next fixture is against Somerset at Headingley from Saturday.