LV= County Championship Division Two: Northamptonshire take control

Last Updated: 19/04/13 6:45pm

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Northamptonshire took control of their LV= County Championship clash against Essex thanks to magnificent half-centuries by tail-enders David Willey, Steven Crook and Trent Copeland on day two.

Resuming on 156-5, 27 runs behind their opponents, Northants were eventually bowled out for 399 - 219 runs in front - after the final two wickets piled on 228 runs.

Crook finished unbeaten on 88 off 104 balls, while Willey smashed 76 from 78 deliveries and Australia international Copeland, batting at 11, also bludgeoned 70 off 67 balls.

Willey and Crook set a new record ninth-wicket partnership for Northants against Essex, notching 111 before Willey holed out by smashing Reece Topley to Rob Quiney at deep fine leg.

Another county record against Essex tumbled when the final-wicket pair hit a sensational 117 before Copeland launched Tymal Mills and was well caught by Topley at fine leg.

Graham Napier was the pick of the Essex bowlers, taking 6-93.

In reply, Essex fought back in the evening to close on 94-2, 125 runs behind.

Willey broke an opening stand of 77 when Tom Westley departed for 38 after he was brilliantly taken by Northants captain Stephen Peters at midwicket.

Ben Foakes (10) went cheaply in the penultimate over when he edged Copeland to wicketkeeper David Murphy, although opener Quiney remains and he will resume on 44 on Friday.

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