Hampshire hammer hapless Essex
Highlights from day three at the Ageas Bowl
Hampshire completed a crushing, 470-run win over Essex with a day to spare at the Ageas Bowl, where the visitors - set an unlikely 605 for victory - were dismissed for 135 in their second innings.
Hampshire equalled the second-highest victory margin of all time in County Championship cricket as they recorded their fourth win of the season to return to the top of Division Two.
James Vince enhanced his prospects of full England selection with a career-best 240 and became the first player this season to reach 1,000 first-class runs as Hampshire piled up a massive 440 for three before declaring at lunch.
He shared a third-wicket partnership of 387 with Will Smith, whose unbeaten 151 was his first century since joining Hampshire from Durham.
Essex, shot out for a meagre 121 in their first innings, crumbled again, losing their last six wickets for 14 runs.
Hampshire, 264 for two overnight and with a daunting lead of 429 already, ruthlessly carved the Essex bowling to pieces.
They greedily added another 176 runs in two hours, leaving themselves five sessions to bowl Essex out for a second time. The improbable 605-run target theoretically left the visitors having to surpass by some distance the highest all-time championship second-innings winning score, 502 by Middlesex against Nottinghamshire at Trent Bridge in 1925.
@WillSmith_2 and @vincey14 enjoy the champagne boys! @hantscricket pic.twitter.com/l6PvzmvcA1 — Michael Main (@MTJM89) June 17, 2014
Vince, 154 not out at the start of play, passed his previous best of 180, scored against Yorkshire at Scarborough in 2010, in the 70th over and Smith then celebrated three figures.
The pair moved remorselessly on, Vince bringing up his double-century off exactly 200 balls with a delightful straight on-drive, one of the 33 fours he hit.
The 23-year-old was eventually caught at deep extra-cover for 240, one run short of the highest individual county score made this season by Australia's Chris Rogers for Middlesex against Yorkshire in April. Vince batted 247 minutes and faced 222 balls.
The departure of Vince at 411 for three enabled Smith to take centre stage before Hampshire declared at 440 for three.
Essex promptly lost Tom Westley caught at slip by Vince off James Tomlinson, but progressed to 66 before Nick Browne was trapped lbw for 25 by David Balcombe, who had Ravi Bopara picked up by Sean Ervine at third slip for 39 to leave the visitors 85 for three.
Two runs later, Jesse Ryder perished for 14 to an indifferent shot and, though James Foster and Ben Foakes did their best to steady the ship, Essex's task was always futile.
The #LVCC Division Two table as it stands. #PromotionHunt pic.twitter.com/DWeQQ84zt2 — Hampshire Cricket (@hantscricket) June 17, 2014
The dismissal of Foakes - a victim of Vince, who could not be kept out of the game - triggered the second collapse of the match by Essex, who had lost seven wickets for 23 runs at one stage of their first innings.
South Africa pace bowler Kyle Abbott, with 3-28, wreaked havoc as Essex capitulated again, the last six wickets falling for a dismal 14 runs.
They were dismissed for 135 in 39.1 overs with Tymal Mills the last man out, appropriately caught by Vince off Smith.
Vince said: "It was a great win. To beat Essex inside three days was a great effort from everyone.
"I got through a tricky bit early in my innings. I was a little bit lucky.
"It got a bit easier when the sun came out but I was just trying to capitalise on anything that was not in a good area."
Essex all-rounder Bopara admitted his side have some work to do.
"They outplayed us. In both innings, they bowled some good balls," he said.
"The Hampshire bowlers got it spot on and continually got it in the right areas. We've got to go away and regroup - Friday night's T20 match against Middlesex will be a perfect time to get it together again."