By Martin Smith

PETER Siddle took five for 48 with some typically accurate bowling as Essex’s claimed their fourth Specsavers County Championship victory of the season.

Hampshire’s defeat by an innings and 52 runs was confirmed with 14 and a half overs left on the fourth day

It was Siddle’s third five-wicket haul in six Championship appearances for Essex.

He plays the last game of his stint against champions-elect Surrey, starting on Tuesday at Chelmsford, before returning to Australia.

He already has 34 red-ball wickets this wicket to his credit.

He was well supported by Simon Harmer, who alternated between his traditional haunt at the Hayes Close End and the River End, and finished with four wickets for 64.

Harmer, who now has 43 wickets this summer to follow up his 72 last year after taking six for 86 in the game, said: “Siddle has been a special addition this season and he showed his class again in this game.

"I don’t think the wicket deteriorated or played as we thought it would.

"We thought it would turn more than it did.

"It was quite dead and it was hard work on the last day.

"But with Sidds always coming back and getting vital breakthroughs, it made our job a lot easier."

Hampshire, meanwhile, lost for the fourth time this season and moved deeper into troubled waters in the lower reaches of division one.

After losing the whole of the first day to wet weather, Essex managed to pull off their victory inside three days.

It was reminiscent of many of the wins in last season’s title success, piling up runs in the first innings and bowling teams out twice.

This was the first time this season they had managed to do so, though, and they took a maximum 24 points for the first time this year.

Spinner Harmer added: “It took a massive effort from the group to play the cricket that we wanted to play, to bat first and look to bat big and then bowl them out twice.

"It was the only way we were going to win the game.

"It was a tremendous team performance and it was good to see the batting unit putting up the runs so that the bowlers could take care of the rest.

“I don’t think there was enough in the wicket for us to really bowl them out quickly, but they did dig in and hung around.

"So it was a relief to get the wicket right at the end there."