What a day in the Championship. What a day! Breathless finishes at Essex, Northants and Hampshire as the pink-ball round came to a close. Here are the best bits...
IN HARM'S WAY
Simon Harmer. Simon Harmer, Simon Harmer, Simon Harmer. We’re genuinely lost for words after a stonkingly thrilling finale at Essex, in which the spinner took NINE wickets (NINE!) to snatch the most ridiculous win for Essex over champions Middlesex. The visitors sunk from 239/4 to 262 all out in a little over 20 overs, Harmer taking the final wicket of Steven Finn to spark all manner of celebrations at Chelmsford. Have you ever seen Alastair Cook move so quickly?! Essex extend their lead at the top. Is it their year?
THE HAND OF COBB
It says something for the seismic events at Essex that Northants slipped down the bill to second after a game at Wantage Road to rival that Ashes clash at Edgbaston in 2005. Needing a whopping 394 to win, Leicestershire looked cooked at 299/7, but then Mathew Pillans started teeing off to provide assistance for centurion Colin Ackermann. Once Ackermann went it all rested on Pillans, who got the Foxes within three runs of victory nine down when he was caught by Josh Cobb at point to signal huge celebrations from the Cobblers. What a game!
YOU QADRI AT HELLO
When Derbyshire last won a Championship game of cricket, against Leicestershire in July 2015, Hamidullah Qadri was a mere 14-year-old in their youth ranks. Flash forward to June 2017 and he’s becoming their youngest ever player in a Championship match AND taking 5/60 in the second innings to get them over the line against Glamorgan. No need to remember the name, you’ll be hearing it quite a bit from now on we reckon.
This was a ground-breaking week that will live long in the memory, alright. We even got a last ball finish at Hampshire, where they just failed to take the two Somerset wickets they needed for victory. The pink ball swung, it seamed, it spun, and it made quite an impact. Sadly for Notts, they couldn’t quite get over the line and we were deprived of a star-studded affair at Headingley - let us hope the next round of pink ball action has pink skies to match.
PHANTOM OF THE CHOPRA
As for catch of the day, over to you Alastair Cook and Varun Chopra. Andrew Strauss and Geraint Jones in 2005, anyone?!