Essex slump to record defeat at Hampshire

Halstead Gazette: Essex captain James Foster loses his wicket PIC GAVIN ELLIS/TGS PHOTOS Essex captain James Foster loses his wicket PIC GAVIN ELLIS/TGS PHOTOS

HAMPSHIRE completed a crushing 470-run win over Essex with a day to spare at the Ageas Bowl, where the visitors – set an unlikely 605 for victory – were dismissed for 135 in their second innings.

Hampshire equalled the second highest victory margin of all time in County Championship cricket as they recorded their fourth win of the Division Two season.

James Vince enhanced his prospects of full England selection with a career-best 240 and became the first player this season to reach 1,000 first-class runs as Hampshire piled up a massive 440 for three before declaring at lunch.

He shared a third-wicket partnership of 387 with Will Smith, who posted an unbeaten 150.

Essex, shot out for a meagre 121 in their first innings, crumbled again, losing their last six wickets for 14 runs.

Hampshire, 264 for two overnight and with a daunting lead of 429 already, carved the Essex bowling to pieces.

They greedily added another 176 runs in two hours, leaving themselves five sessions to bowl Essex out for a second time.

The improbable 605-run target theoretically left Essex having to surpass by some distance the highest all-time Championship second-innings winning score, 502 by Middlesex against Nottinghamshire in 1925.

Vince, 154 not out at the start of play, passed his previous best 180 in the 70th over.

The pair moved remorselessly on, Vince bringing up his double-century off exactly 200 balls.

The 23-year-old was eventually caught at deep extra-cover for 240, one run short of the highest individual county score made this season by Australia’s Chris Rogers for Middlesex.

The departure of Vince at 411 for three enabled Smith to take centre stage, the former Durham captain going on to score 151 including 13 fours before Hampshire declared at 440 for three.

Essex promptly lost Tom Westley (three) caught at slip by Vince off James Tomlinson (one for 16), but progressed to 66 before Nick Browne (25) was trapped lbw. Then Ravi Bopara (39) was caught to leave the visitors 85 for three.

Two runs later, Jesse Ryder (14) perished to an indifferent shot and, though James Foster (25) and Ben Foakes (10) did their best to steady the ship, Essex’s task was always futile.

The dismissal of Foakes triggered the second Essex collapse.

Pace bowler Kyle Abbott (three for 28) wreaked havoc as Essex capitulated again, the last six wickets falling for 14 runs.

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