Dazzling David masters Leicestershire
David Masters produced an incredible display of seam bowling as Leicestershire were skittled out for only 34 by Essex at Southend-on-Sea.
He returned amazing figures of 8-10 from 7.4 overs as the visitors suffered a humiliating 280-run defeat in their LV= County Championship Division Two clash.
After being set a victory target of 315, Leicestershire's innings lasted just 72 minutes as Masters was left celebrating the best figures of his long career.
The 33-year-old embarked among his destructive course by bowling Will Jefferson for a duck in his opening over, and in his fourth he picked up three more victims.
He had Matt Boyce caught in the slips and trapped James Taylor lbw before knocking back the off stump of Wayne White.
By this time the visitors were left shell-shocked and never looked like putting up much of a fight, and fittingly Masters was to signal victory by bowling Tom New.
Earlier in the day, he had played a significant part with the bat. Essex had resumed on 168 for four in their second innings, just 110 runs ahead, and quickly lost two wickets while a further 17 runs were added.
That heralded the arrival of Masters, who duly shared a partnership of 111 for the seventh wicket - the highest of the match - with skipper Ravi Bopara, who compiled a masterful 178. Masters’ contribution was 48.
“Naturally it has been a fantastic day for me - quite unbelievable,” he said. “It is certainly one I will never forget. The ball did seam about and it was a good pitch to bowl on but we never expected to win in such an easy fashion.”
The deeds of Masters overshadowed a magnificent innings from Bopara, who was leading Essex in a championship game for the first time.
After starting the day on 55, Bopara delivered an object lesson in patience and concentration as well as an array of fine strokes.
He drove and pulled with great authority whenever the opportunity arose during an innings that spanned nearly seven-and-a-half hours and contained 18 fours.
It was spread over 374 balls although he did need one slice of luck on the way. When he had scored 80, Bopara played a stroke against Wayne White onto the base of the stumps, but the ball failed to remove a bail.
Bopara's great effort ended when a mis-timed sweep against left-arm spinner Claude Henderson looped up in the air for Jefferson to run round from slip and take an easy catch behind the wicketkeeper.
But by then Essex were over 300 ahead and the stage was set for Masters to destroy Leicestershire's challenge.