Masters leads Essex riposte
David Masters helped Essex fight back against Derbyshire after four wickets from spinner David Wainwright had secured maximum bowling points for the Division Two leaders in the LV= County Championship match.
Wainwright took 4-64 and Mark Turner 2-38 as Essex were bowled out for 245, but the visitors hit back by reducing the home side to 28 for three at the close.
Masters followed a season’s best of 35 with 2-3 in seven overs on his return from a side strain and Graham Napier, who top scored with 42, also claimed a wicket to leave the game in the balance.
Derbyshire dominated the first part of the day; their decision to put Essex in was quickly justified as Tony Palladino struck against his former county by having Jaik Mickleburgh caught behind for five.
It was the seamer’s 49th championship victim of the season, yet he was kept waiting for scalp number 50 as Essex subsided to the spin of Wainwright and two needless run-outs.
After Tom Westley played down the wrong line at Tim Groenewald and Owais Shah was beaten for pace by Turner, Wainwright got a ball to spit at Mark Pettini, who was caught off his glove by Wes Durston at first slip.
Ryan ten Doeschate has played some explosive innings against Derbyshire in the past and briefly threatened to leave his mark again when he drove Wainwright over long-on for six.
But the Netherlands star fatally went back to Wainwright and was lbw to an arm ball on 29.
Although James Foster was dropped by wicketkeeper Tom Poynton and saw a top-edged hook carried over the rope by Palladino, he did not make Derbyshire pay.
The Essex skipper had moved to 31 when he pushed Wainwright to mid-on, set off for a crazy single and was run out by yards thanks to Wayne Madsen’s direct hit.
When Adam Wheater was lbw to a full ball from Turner, Essex were 151 for seven - though Napier and Masters at least secured a batting point with a stand of 74 in 19 overs.
Napier fell when he edged a big drive to slip off Wainwright and Maurice Chambers’ attempted slog ended in the hands of backward point, leaving Masters to drive the spinner for six before he was run out going for a second.
Masters continued the Essex recovery when he bowled Madsen, who made a double century in the previous game, for two and had Usman Khawaja well caught low down at second slip by Westley for a 14-ball duck.
Palladino was sent in as nightwatchman but Napier trapped him lbw in the penultimate over to end an absorbing day’s play on a high note for Essex.