Only 22.5 overs possible on final day as Warwickshire see off new ball
Warwickshire 166 and 66 for 1 (Briggs 37, Rhodes 22*) drew with Essex 217 (Cook 57, ten Doeschate 56, Harmer 40*)
Just 22.5 overs were possible on the final day at Chelmsford, as Warwickshire guarded against the potential for any late drama with a solid morning’s batting before persistent rain forced the two teams to shake hands on a draw.
After batting out a solitary over on the third evening, Warwickshire resumed on 0 for 0 in their second innings, still 51 runs adrift of parity. But Essex’s new-ball threat was quickly thwarted, with Danny Briggs, the nightwatchman, continuing where he had left out to compile a 63-run opening stand with Will Rhodes.
Notwithstanding the perpetual threat of Simon Harmer, Essex knew that their best hope of an unlikely win was to strike hard with the new ball when play resumed in dry but overcast conditions.
But Briggs, warming to his task, opened his account with a compact drive for four through long-off off Jamie Porter, before guiding an edge with soft hands through third man one ball later. And when Peter Siddle entered the attack in the tenth, he picked off 14 runs all told in a wayward over, far removed from his immediate first-innings threat.
A firm thump through the covers was followed by a pair of flicks off the pads as Siddle veered too straight in his attempts to force the breakthrough, and Essex were already sensing the moment had been lost when Harmer was thrown the ball two overs later, with the deficit already down to 10.
Siddle was again picked off through fine leg, twice in two balls, as Briggs drew Warwickshire level, before the ever-threatening rain arrived at 12.17pm, ultimately forcing an early lunch after one aborted attempt at a restart.
The teams did eventually reappear for 2.5 more overs, in which time Briggs was removed by Sam Cook, squared up on the back foot and caught off a leading edge in the covers by Dan Lawrence for 37.
After welcoming a smattering of fans back to the Cloud FM County Ground for the first three days, no spectators were admitted for the fourth and final day. For a brief period in the morning, it seemed that the faithful few might be missing out on the best action, and weather, of the match. But ultimately, a soggy affair dribbled to a fittingly drab conclusion.
Andrew Miller is UK editor of ESPNcricinfo. @miller_cricket