County Championship round-up: Maddy guides Bears home to leave Essex with sore head

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The Independent Online

Warwickshire boosted their chances of staying in Division One of the LV= County Championship as Darren Maddy's unbeaten half-century completed a seven-wicket win over relegation rivals Essex at Edgbaston.

Set 153 to win in a tense contest, they dumped Essex to the bottom of the table with only one game to play and moved alongside Kent, their opponents in another crucial fixture in Birmingham next week.

Although Essex reached the highest score of the match before they were dismissed for 193 in their second innings, they did not have enough runs in the bank to avoid their second defeat by Warwickshire this month. In a big improvement on recent batting performances, the home side seized the initiative when Ian Westwood (40) and Varun Chopra (36) put on 62, their second-highest opening partnership of the season.

Westwood hit eight fours before he was lbw attempting to sweep Danish Kaneria's fourth ball, and Chopra's determined innings against his former county ended with a bat-pad catch to short-leg off David Masters.

Jim Troughton, playing across the line, became another victim for Masters, but Maddy, with four consecutive boundaries off Tony Palladino, accelerated to his second 50 of the season in an unbroken stand of 47 with Rikki Clarke, who hit the winning runs off Maurice Chambers.

In the Division Two, two wickets from the Northamptonshire captain Andrew Hall were not enough to secure victory against Worcestershire as yet more rain spoiled the final day of their match at Wantage Road. In an attempt to force a result, Worcestershire declared their first innings at 45 for nought after 31 balls of buffet bowling from Northants. The hosts forfeited their second innings, giving the visitors a target of 341 and they were teetering on 182 for six despite Moeen Ali's 62 before heavy downpours saved them from defeat.

In Dambulla, a superb century from Tillakaratne Dilshan and a quickfire 71 from the captain Kumar Sangakkara helped hosts Sri Lanka to a 74-run victory over India in their tri-series final.