Ex-West Indies speedster Fidel Edwards produced a fiery spell on a flat wicket to snatch an impressive five-wicket haul as Hampshire took command of their Division One contest against Essex at the Rose Bowl on Sunday.
The 37-year-old, who played the last of his 55 Tests seven years ago, claimed five for 51 to send Essex tumbling for 164 in their first innings, in reply to the hosts’ 525 for eight declared.
Batting a second time, Essex ended the penultimate day on 132 for four, still requiring a further 229 runs to avoid a heavy innings defeat.
Resuming the day on 25 for one, Essex got a top score of 50 from former Test captain Sir Alastair Cook while Ravi Bopara resisted with an unbeaten 37 and Dan Lawrence, 31.
Essex started well and had reached 90 for two before Edwards’s intervention changed the game, as the last eight wickets fell for 74 runs.
Bowling a quick, full length, Edwards had four of his victims bowled and one lbw, en route to his eighth five-wicket haul in the County championship.
The Barbadian then claimed another wicket in the Essex second innings as the visitors stumbled to 90 for four before Bopara struck an unbeaten 60 to halt the decline.
Last season, Edwards topped Hampshire’s bowling aggregates with 54 wickets at an average of 26. He joined the county four years ago as a Kolpak player – he is not considered an overseas player under the deal – and signed a new contract in January.