Hasan Ali, Oliver Hannon-Dalby restore Warwickshire control with last-wicket stand

Hasan Ali and Oliver Hannon-Dalby combined for 70 runs for the tenth wicket

On the second day of their gripping LV=Insurance County Championship match at Edgbaston, Essex battled back valiantly, but a swashbuckling 70-run tenth-wicket stand gave Warwickshire the upper hand again.

In a captivating match between two potential title contenders, Essex ended day two on 86 for 4, still behind by 30.

Warwickshire appeared to be on track for a respectable lead after dismissing Essex for 126 on day one, but they lost seven wickets in 17 overs and dropped to 172 for 9. 

Hasan Ali (53 not out) and Oliver Hannon-Dalby’s last pair crushed 70 from 69 balls to push their side to 242, defying Essex’s seamers, who had the momentum after Doug Bracewell’s 4 for 51.

The wagging tail increased the advantage to a commanding 116 and put further pressure on Essex, who will need their middle and lower ranks to bat well tomorrow. A match that has swung drastically throughout is likely to experience more twists.

Will Rhodes (63) and Sam Hain (45) batted throughout the first session to lead Warwickshire to 104 for 2 at lunch, just 22 behind as they started play on the second morning on 17 for 2. 

A sizable lead awaited, but Sam Cook and Simon Harmer had already planted the seeds of an Essex comeback. They bowled 14 overs for 17 runs late in the morning to make sure that, despite the home team’s wickets remaining intact, they had not escaped. Then, soon after lunch, a flurry of wickets arrived.

With a pair of brilliant balls that did for Hain and Dan Mousley in consecutive overs, Shane Snater set off the collapse. Ed Barnard played admirably for 28 balls, but Bracewell’s drive-bowled removal of him resulted in the loss of five wickets in 32 deliveries. 

While Bracewell induced fatal edges from Michael Burgess, Chris Rushworth, and Rhodes, who batted with great responsibility but left blaming himself for being persuaded to go outside off stump, Sam Cook caught Danny Briggs lbw.

Warwickshire’s final pair’s daring counterattack from 172 for 9 caused the audience to stand up. It started with Hasan Ali throwing Cook twice into the Hollies Stand. 

In order to raise the 50 stand from the same number of balls, Hannon-Dalby joined in and pulled off a series of sixes off Bracewell. Hasan once more found the seats to complete his half-century in 33 balls. The match’s momentum had drastically shifted one more by the time Hannon-Dalby finally edged Snater behind.

Nick Browne was bowled by Rushworth in the third over of the second game, and Essex lost him. Alastair Cook and Tom Westley started to establish the strong stand that their team needed, but both were bowled out in the space of three overs. Westley was fired by Barnard before Cook was fired by Hassan. 

The former England captain left the Edgbaston field, where he experienced some of his greatest moments—294 vs. India, 243 vs. West Indies—for almost certainly the last time on a soggy, gray afternoon, in front of a scattering of Championship diehards. This added a poignant dimension to two days of cricket with more angles than you can shake a stick at.