By Martin Smith

Hampshire (172 & 17-2) trail Essex (435) by 246 runs

Specsavers County Championship division one, day three

Peter Siddle helped Essex tighten their stranglehold over Hampshire as he claimed two second-innings wickets after the follow-on was enforced at Chelmsford.

Hampshire were all out for 172 in 79 overs, 263 runs behind Essex’s 435.

And, second time around, they lost Joe Weatherley, bowled without scoring, to Siddle’s fifth ball and Jimmy Adams in the Australian’s second over, pushing forward to a straight delivery.

Siddle finished the day with two for 10 from his four second-innings overs to follow his tidy two for 22 in the first innings.

At the close of the third day, Hampshire were 17 for two from nine overs in the evening, still 246 runs away from suffering an innings defeat.

After a season of travails which has left them looking over their shoulders, the reigning Specsavers County champions revived memories of last season’s successes when they piled on first-innings runs before rolling over the opposition twice with the ball.

Hampshire were afforded a large helping of déjà-vu.

Sam Cook was Essex’s chief wicket-taker with three for 27 from 10 and a half overs, while Simon Harmer wheeled away for 31 overs, taking two for 52.

At one point he had bowled an extraordinary 20 overs for 20 runs, and that including a six from James Vince.

The Hampshire captain, released from Test duty by England on Wednesday, had climbed off his sick bed and stood alone on the bridge for more than two hours as wickets fell all around him.

Vince, who had not fielded in the morning, nor taken his usual place at first wicket down, suffering from a stomach bug, came in at number five and stifled his natural instincts.

He hung around for 96 balls while eking out 26 runs.

The first-innings collapse started in the fourth over when Jimmy Adams was bowled by Cook for one.

And in the 11 overs that followed they lost two more to go to lunch at 44 for three.

Ian Holland, replacing Vince at number three, went in the first of Harmer’s marathon 27-over stint, punctuated only by lunch and tea, bowled by one that turned and struck middle-stump.

Then on the stroke of the interval Sam Northeast was pouched at slip off Siddle.

That brought in the captain.

Vince soon lost opener Joe Weatherley, shuffling across in front of his stumps and was lbw to Siddle for 32.

Tom Alsop had just driven Sam Cook to the boundary, but played no shot as the next ball struck off-stump.

Vince and Rilee Rossouw then put down roots for 17 overs.

The sixth-wicket pair were becalmed for 37 deliveries after the departure of Alsop, with the South African taking 19 balls to get off the mark.

Vince launched the 46th ball he faced over long leg for the six that finally took him into double-figures.

They had added 25 before Harmer got one to turn square and Rossouw planted the ball into Nick Browne’s hands at short mid-wicket.

Rossouw stood there in disbelief and trudged slowly off after taking 49 balls over his dozen.

Gareth Berg clipped lazily low to Browne in the same position to give Bopara the first of two successive wicket.

His second, via a wide half-volley, was that of Vince, who failed to move his feet and gave Harmer catching practice at second slip.

The largest stand of the innings was the 36 put on for the ninth wicket between Kyle Abbott and Liam Dawson.

By that time the wicket had flatten out and the pair played without undue duress.

That was until Jamie Porter switched to his more familiar Hayes Close End and took his first wicket of the innings, bowling Dawson for 32.

And Cook wrapped the innings up on 172 when he had Fidel Edwards caught behind.

Essex added 72 in 11 overs in the morning to claim maximum batting points for the first time his season.

They required 37 from seven overs at the start of the day to gain their fifth point, Harmer took it upon himself to get Essex there.

He went to bed overnight on nought from 17 balls.

But in 17 balls in the first session he thumped three fours in reaching 19.

When he was out, caught by a diving Jimmy Adams at slip, Essex had whittled the target down to six from 12 balls. However, it was not until the third ball of the 110th over that Siddle deposited Kyle Abbott over cow corner for the six that took Essex from 398 to 404.

Job done, Siddle departed two balls later, lbw to give Abbott his fifth wicket at a personal cost of 90, but too late to give Hampshire a final bowling point.

Dan Lawrence’s 210-ball stay for 124 ended in the next over when he turned Holland off his legs into sub Aneurin Donald’s hands at long leg.

Hampshire’s discomfort continued when the last-wicket pair of Porter and Cook put on 23 in three overs with Cook’s 14 from eight balls representing his highest first-class score.

When he attempted to pull Edwards for his fourth four he was out for the first time in eight innings this season to give him an average of 41.00.

As a curiosity, Essex fielded a different wicketkeeper in each session.

After Adam Wheater injured his shoulder stopping a delivery from Jamie Porter late in the morning, Will Buttleman, an Academy product who plays in the second XI, did a tidy job in the afternoon.

Finally, Michael Pepper arrived hotfoot from a golf course in Cambridge in time for the evening’s play and took the catch that finished off the Hampshire first innings.