PETER Siddle marked his and 200 spectators' return to the County Ground with four County Championship wickets.

Australian fast bowler Siddle took four for 36 in a masterful display on his first appearance at the ground since July 2019, having only featured in away games since his return to Essex this season.

Dom Sibley, who was called up to the England Test squad ahead of the New Zealand series, was also making his comeback after a month out for a fractured finger and scored a dogged 43.

A wet evening disappointed the crowd on their first outing since restrictions were lifted, although a twilight 2.4 overs ticked the score to 159 for seven - with Tim Bresnan well set on 47 not out.

Will Rhodes had won the toss and elected to bat first, on a pitch which was tinged green and would go on to prove offered plenty of movement for the seam and swing bowlers.

Sibley looked to be making up for time lost in recovery by flicking his first delivery to the boundary but returned to his blocking best by following it up with 10 dot balls – something that would be a regular occurrence during his vigil.

Siddle, who had been rested for the innings victory over Derbyshire, entered the attack in the 11th over and struck with just his third delivery.

The veteran squared up Rhodes and found a thick edge to Nick Browne at fourth slip, before Rob Yates’ middle stump went splat in the following over.

Jamie Porter, on the back of season-best figures of three for 41, took the edge of an off-balance Pieter Malan – as Tom Westley pilfered a simple catch at third slip.

Siddle was awarded his county cap and his winner’s medal from the 2019 Championship success at lunch and immediately said thank you to the club with the lbw scalp of Sam Hain.

Meanwhile, Sibley had been tested thoroughly by Siddle, Porter and Sam Cook with a ball jagging about – with at least 14 play and misses sitting alongside his solid defence.

He departed, having struck a rare seven thanks to an Adam Wheater overthrow, when he nicked Cook to second slip to leave Warwickshire 76 for five.

But a 56-run stand between Bresnan and Michael Burgess lifted the visitors, the latter scoring 35 including a straight slog sweep six off Harmer.

But Siddle returned to castle Burgess, who was shouldering his arms, and Cook had Olly Stone superbly caught by Harmer.

The players returned to the middle after tea but after standing around for a few moments were turned around by the umpires, with bad light and subsequently rain pausing the game, before a short burst added another nine runs before bad light returned.