Simon Harmer perfect 10 catapults Essex to victory over Durham, closing the gap in the first innings of 163

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Simon Harmer perfect 10 catapults Essex to victory over Durham after closing the first innings deficit of 163 … the intent of the champions

  • Essex overcame a tough first innings on Sunday, beating Durham in Chelmsford
  • Simon Harmer claimed five wickets to make it 10 for the match for a 44-point win
  • Essex was thrown out for 96 before Durham lost their last seven wickets to 40

Essex said they planned to successfully defend their County Championship and Bob Willis Trophy titles when they took a stunning win over Durham.

Simon Harmer claimed a five-wicket swipe to complete 10 in the game as Essex overcame a 163 in the first innings to eject Durham for 123 and took a 44-run victory. It retains the champions’ 13-match unbeaten red ball record at Chelmsford.

Durham earned much of the race for the first three days after bowling Essex for 96, but crumbled in the face of Harmer’s off-spin, losing their last seven wickets for 40.

Simon Harmer took five wickets to help Essex storm back to a 44-run win over Durham

“We don’t often have our backs to the wall,” said Harmer. This shows the character on the team and Essex has what can’t be bought. We find ways to win. ‘

James Bracey added an unbeaten 83 to his first innings century when Gloucestershire defeated Somerset to follow their opening win over Surrey. It is the first time they have won their first two championship matches since 1931.

A top-class batsman and goalkeeper, Bracey is seen by England as a potential test opener or No. 3, putting pressure on Rory Burns ahead of the first test against New Zealand on June 2.

Durham had ditched Essex for 96 before falling apart, losing seven wickets for just 40

Durham had ditched Essex for 96 before falling apart, losing seven wickets for just 40

And he could be joined in the summer’s first England team by another newcomer to Ollie Robinson, who produced an excellent all-round showing in Sussex’s eight-wicket win over Glamorgan.

Robinson, a Glenn McGrath type Bowler with pitch and bounce, took nine for 78 as Glamorgan was turned down for 349 to add to his four first innings wickets and 67 in Sussex first innings. Aaron Thomason then made an unbeaten 78 when Sussex drove home.

Tim Bresnan made an unbeaten 68 when Warwickshire chased a daunting 333 goal to beat Notts by three wickets in a nail-biting finish at Trent Bridge.

Mohammad Abbas took nine wickets in the match when Hampshire hit Middlesex with 249 points to win their first two matches for the first time since 2004.

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