Essex’s gaze now turns to Taunton where Lancashire must beat Somerset to take the Division One title race into the penultimate week
Essex 369 for 9 dec (Chopra 98, Lawrence 78, Foster 68, Barker 3-71) beat Warwickshire 201 (Sibley 76, Porter 4-62, Harmer 4-47) and 112 (Harmer 4-25, Porter 3-37, Cook 3-42) by an innings and 56 runs
Essex virtually sealed their seventh Specsavers County Championship title by completing an innings-and-56-runs victory over relegation-bound Warwickshire at Edgbaston.
Trailing by 168 on first innings, the home side was bowled out for 112 to suffer their second thumping of the season at the hands of Essex who hammered them by an innings and 164 runs at Chelmsford in June.
With second-placed Lancashire on the back foot against Somerset at Taunton, the title is all but Essex’s after they totalled outplayed Warwickshire. The post-match mood in the two dressing-rooms at Edgbaston could not have been contrasting – while Essex will begin the 2018 season as defending champions, Warwickshire will be in Division Two, their nine-year stay in the top flight having come to a bruising end.
Warwickshire resumed on third morning on nine without loss and any hopes harboured by their supporters of seeing some rediscovered resilience from their team evaporated in minutes. Within ten overs, the Bears lurched to 25 for four.
Jamie Porter removed openers Dominic Sibley, caught at first slip, and Sam Hain, lbw, in the space of nine balls. Former England pair Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell were uprooted by Sam Cook, who induced the former to play on and had the latter caught behind, inside-edging a superb delivery.
Chris Woakes diverted spinner Simon Harmer’s tenth ball to leg slip and the arrival of rain just before and during the lunch interval merely delayed the procession.
From 55 for 5 at lunch, Warwickshire lost another wicket before acquiring another run as Alex Mellor edged to slip off Harmer to provide the spinner’s 20th championship wicket against Warwickshire this season. Porter then meted out a pair to Keith Barker when the left-hander edged to wicketkeeper James Foster.
Edgbaston academy product Matt Lamb showed his ability with some solid resistance for the second time in the game but, on 35 (66 balls, four fours), lofted Harmer to Dan Lawrence on the midwicket boundary.
Lawrence took another fine catch, running round from gully, to remove Jeetan Patel off Cook, leaving last pair Henry Brookes and Ryan Sidebottom with 63 to find to make Essex bat again. They managed seven of them before Brookes edged Harmer to slip.