worcestershire paceman josh tongue completed the best match bowling analysis of his career with a five wicket second innings haul on day three of the specsavers county championship clash with champions essex at New Road.
but the county went down by 32 runs after being bowled out for 182 despite a fine knock from travis head who was last out for 61
tongue followed up his first innings performance of 15-7-45-4 with a return of 23.5-8-53-5 as worcestershire bowled out the visitors for 275 to leave themselves a 215 victory target.
it gave the 20-year-old overall figures of 38.5-15-98-9 and he has bowled with control and aggression throughout the game.
tongue led his team-mates off the field to a standing ovation after another demonstration of his outstanding potential.
head battled away in conditions still offering assistance to bowlers and reached his half century from 92 balls with three boundaries.
but paceman peter siddle (5-37) and spinner simon harmer (5-43) saw essex over the finishing line.
essex had resumed on 143-4 and skipper joe leach’s side made two early breakthroughs.
first to go was nightwatchman jamie porter (9) who was called through for a single by tom lawrence off leach but failed to beat head’s throw from mid off back to keeper ben cox.
leach struck in his next over as essex skipper ryan ten doeschate (4) drove him into the hands of tom fell at extra cover.
lawrence and essex keeper james foster counter-attacked to good effect.
worcestershire introduced spin into the attack for the first time in the game via home debutant ben twohig who bowled a tidy spell.
it was the return of tongue which broke the lawrence-foster stand after they had added 63 in 13 overs.
foster (24) was undone by a delivery which lifted and squared him up as he nicked through to keeper ben cox.
then lawrence, who hit 10 fours from 135 balls in making 71, was trapped lbw.
essex went into lunch at 266-8 and the second new ball was taken immediately afterwards and brought a quickfire end to the innings.
siddle (2) went for an expansive shot over mid wicket and was bowled by leach – his third victim of the innings and 23rd in total this season.
tough polished off the innings and completed his nap hand when harmer (23) lobbed a catch up to leach running around from mid on.
when worcestershire batted, they came up against an inspired early spell from siddle.
brett d’oliveira (11) pushed forward and was caught behind, tom fell (10) was bowled and joe clarke (2) was leg before during an opening burst of 9-1-14-3.
daryl mitchell (26) battled away in typical fashion before he was caught around the corner at leg slip off spinner harmer.
siddle returned to the attack after tea, which was taken at 89-4, to win an lbw decision against ben cox (9).
ed barnard then joined head and the pair looked to be putting worcestershire on the path to victory during a stand of 63 in 19 overs which lifted the total to 160-5.
barnard (29) was then bowled behind his legs when sweeping at harmer who then had ben twohig (1) caught at deep mid wicket.
leach (4) pushed forward to the spinner and was caught at short leg and tongue (3) nicked siddle to second slip.
head’s fine knock ended when he tried to hit harmer over the top and was caught at deep cover.