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Spinner claims 10 for the match to see hosts home before lunch on final day at Chelmsford

Essex 96 (Rushworth 3-13, Carse 3-37) and 330 (Walter 77, Allison 52, Carse 5-82) beat Durham 259 (Borthwick 100, Poynter 52*, Harmer 5-79) and 123 (Burnham 43, Harmer 5-57, Cook 3-17) by 44 runs

Simon Harmer made sure it was ‘Harmer Time’ again at the Cloudfm County Ground, Chelmsford, as the talismanic spinner was the architect for Essex’s sensational comeback victory over Durham.

Harmer claimed his 22nd five-wicket haul, and sixth 10 wickets in a match since joining the county in 2017 with a bamboozling 5 for 57.

Defending LV= Insurance County Championship and Bob Willis Trophy champions Essex had been bowled out for 96 in the first innings and gave up a 163-run first-innings deficit, only to win by 44 runs.

The victory, which gave the hosts 19 points to Durham’s five, was their 12th in 13 at home.

The equation for the last day was simple; Durham required 108 runs and Essex needed seven wickets.

Jack Burnham ticked four off the target with the second ball of the day, a well-timed flick off his legs, having scored an enterprising 31 the previous evening.

Burnham and Scott Borthwick’s partnership passed 50, with the latter only contributing 13 to it, but only reached 63 before Harmer struck for the first time. With 85 required, Burnham departed for 43 when he rocked onto the back foot and hoicked straight to Tom Westley at long-on.

Adam Wheater thought he had stumped Borthwick in Harmer’s next over, to earn a reprimand from the umpires, only for the off-spinner to pin the first-innings century-maker when going back, 80 still needed.

Only another run had been added six balls later when Sam Cook, who returned figures of 3 for 17, had Stuart Poynter lbw.

Ben Raine lasted just five balls before Harmer flicked his pad to take his third wicket in 11 balls.

With 60 needed to win, Ned Eckersley, who had survived a drop at short-leg before he had scored, tickled Harmer around the corner to Dan Lawrence at leg slip.

Harmer completed his second five-for in the match when Brydon Carse, who had a runner due to a swollen ankle sustained while bowling, was lbw. Harmer’s match figures were an impressive 10 for 136.

Jamie Porter completed the victory when he sent Matt Salisbury’s middle stump tumbling.

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