Cricket: In-form Essex head to Headingley on high
PUBLISHED: 18:19 02 June 2019 | UPDATED: 18:19 02 June 2019
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Essex travel to Headingley to face Yorkshire in fine form and looking to make it a hat-trick of Specsavers County Championship successes after wins over Nottinghamshire and Kent.
The main architects of the victory over Kent last week were Alastair Cook and Simon Harmer, as the former England captain marked his 100th first-class match for the county with innings of 125 and 90, whilst South African spinner Harmer enjoyed match figures of 11-170.
It was the 10th time in Harmer's Essex career, now in its third season, that the bowler had taken five or more wickets in an innings and took his tally of victims for the campaign to 29 in just four matches making him the leading wicket-taker in the competition this summer.
It was also the third time for Essex that he had taken 10 wickets or more in match.
"Winning two games in a row puts us in a great frame of mind and good place going into the Yorkshire game," Harmer said. "It is still early days in the competition and there are lots of games still to play but momentum is key."
Reflecting on the victory against old adversaries Kent, the off-spinner added: "You can see the batsmen were very tentative and didn't know how to play me on a fourth day pitch. I know that come day four of a match, there is always going to be pressure on me to perform and I have to make sure in terms of preparation that I take care of all the processes to ensure that I'm getting the ball in the right areas."
Now 30 years old, he admitted that he is anxious to bring further success to his adopted county, adding: "I'm always looking at ways in which I can improve my own game.
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"There are always areas where you can improve, whether it's to score more runs or take more wickets. There are always little one per cents that can make the difference.
"I really enjoy the changing room, the club and everything about it, and I really want to play my part in bringing more trophies to the club."
Essex will be without Michael Pepper for this week's fixture against Yorkshire.
The 20 year-old, who claimed five catches in his first senior appearance of the season against Kent following an appendix operation, is now sidelined once again .
He damaged a finger during the game and is seeing a specialist on Monday to determine the extent of the injury.
With Adam Wheater still recovering from his finger injury, on-loan keeper Robbie White comes back into the team.
Varun Chopra and Aaron Beard are also named in the 15-man squad for the match at Headingley.
Essex: Ryan ten Doeschate; Aaron Beard; Ravi Bopara; Nick Browne; Varun Chopra; Alastair Cook; Sam Cook; Simon Harmer; Dan Lawrence; Rishi Patel; Jamie Porter; Matt Quinn; Peter Siddle; Tom Westley; Robbie White.