Tom Westley, Simon Harmer tons build dominant Essex position

Surrey 67 and 88 for 1 (Stoneman 41 *) trail Essex 477 for 8 Dec (Westley 134, Harmer 102 *, Wheater 68 *) for 322 runs
Scoring card [19659003] Centuries of Simon Harmer and Tom Westley put Essex in full command against Surrey at the Kia Oval, where the champions finished day two facing their first defeat of a triumphant season. In the stumps, Surrey had 88 for 1 in his second inning – still 322 runs behind – after Harmer, Westley and Adam Wheater, with a powerful 68 of 105 balls, had swept Essex with 441 for 8 declared.

Mark Stoneman, eliminated at 5 minutes Matt Quinn from understudy Michael Pepper, who dived in the first slip but only managed to deflect the edge in the left knee of M Vijay, advanced safely to 41 not from 63 balls, although Rory Burns gave Jamie Porter when the Surrey captain tried to take a short shot to the leg but got an advantage.

Harmer and Wheater added an uninterrupted 159 in 36 overs in the afternoon session, setting a new seventh wicket record for Essex against Surrey and accumulating the agony of the runaway champions of the Specsavers County Championship after Westley's firing in the last before lunch.

Wheater, however, had to retire wounded during the tea interval after failing to shake off an unpleasant blow to his humble right, suffered four balls before the interval when South Africa's former fast bowler, Morne Morkel, did a later one from a good distance in a pitch that played much better than the opening day.

Harmer saw Porter and Sam Cook fall into the persevering Jade Dernbach, who finished with a creditable 4 for 95, before stopping the spinner Amar Virdi for six just above the head of the long fielder to reach only his second century of first class. The statement came shortly after, with Harmer unbeaten in 102 of 156 balls, with 11 fours and two sixes, both out of Virdi's suffering.

Essex, the champion of 2017, was already in charge of the game at the start of the day two 130 races to the front in 197 for 2, but they continued to build a position of absolute dominance after Westley quickly completed the 20th first class of his career.

Resuming in 93, Westley took only 12 balls to go to three figures and went to 134 before tickling Rikki Clarke so that Ben Foakes leaves Essex 282 for 6. But the afternoon session belonged to Wheater and Harmer, since they crushed any realistic hope of an improbable Surrey victory.

Essex, who knocked down Surrey by only 67 in the first friendly positions with the bombers, lost both Dan Lawrence and Ravi Bopara in the opening hour of the second day. Lawrence stood before Clarke fought for 77 balls to make 17, and Bopara scored just 8 when he tried a paddle sweep against Virdi – on the last chance before the second new ball was taken at 238 for 4 – and He was Behind his pads

But Westley stood his ground, joined a fifth-place position of 40 for Ryan ten Doeschate before the Essex captain defeated Dernbach in a racket to go to 27. When he was finally fired, Westley had batted for almost six and a half hours, facing 282 balls and hitting 21 fours.

Wheater hit eight fours and a six more on Virdi, but was replaced as keeper by substitute Pepper when Surrey hit again. And Essex needed another replacement when Cook could not pass a concussion test – following a blow to his batting helmet during his brief inning, facing Dernbach – and called Matt Coles to replace him.


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