COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP DIVISION TWO
Chelmsford, day one of four (close): Essex 4-0 v Northants 280
Nel (right) produced a typically lion-hearted spell
Andre Nel overcame jetlag and the absence of his kit to help Essex bowl Northants out for 280 on day one of their opening Championship game.
The South Africa paceman landed in the morning and then took 3-64, while Ravi Bopara returned figures of 3-39.
Rob White resisted with 60, Lance Klusener hit an unbeaten 72 after being dropped on 27, and Niall O'Brien (28) and Steven Crook (35) also chipped in.
But the last four wickets fell for 25 before Essex reached stumps on 4-0.
It was a remarkable effort from Nel, who landed in London at 0720 BST and arrived at the ground to discover his equipment had not made the trip.
He made light of that by clean bowling England Under-19 captain Alex Wakely and yorking Stephen Peters.
Bopara swung the ball to good effect to account for White, David Sales and Rikki Wessels.
Countryman Klusener would have provided Nel with a third wicket had he not been dropped at second slip by Varun Chopra.
It proved a costly miss as the big all-rounder went on to complete his half-century from 68 deliveries before running out of partners.
Nel fittingly brought the Northamptonshire innings to a close when he had Jason Brown snapped up behind and the hosts safely negotiated the remaining three overs.