PETER Siddle returned his best bowling figures for Essex but rain prevented their County Championship fixture with Warwickshire from progressing at the County Ground.

Former Australia international Siddle returned figures of six for 38 – his best figures since 2015.

He claimed two wickets on the third day as Warwickshire, despite Tim Bresnan reaching 50, lost their final three wickets in 16 morning balls to be bowled out for 166.

In reply, Liam Norwell had Nick Browne caught behind to leave Essex 16 for one before the heavy winds brought rain and an end to the day at 12:15pm.

The day began, 15 minutes late, with Bresnan ticking his overnight 47 to his 43rd first-class half-century.

But Siddle ripped through the tail with ruthless efficiency at the other end with two wickets in successive deliveries.

Danny Briggs carved to Browne at point to give Siddle his sixth five-for for Essex, with his last also coming against Warwickshire.

He then dislodged Norwell’s off-stump with the next ball, with Oliver Hannon-Dalby blocking out the hat-trick ball.

Sam Cook produced a snorter to have Bresnan caught at first slip as Warwickshire were bowled out.

Only 7.3 overs were bowled at Essex but there was enough time for a gorgeous Alastair Cook cover drive, the heavy bails to be called for in the face of gale-force wind, and for Browne to nick behind a Norwell beauty.

Rain, in various levels of strength, was a constant with the only entertainment of note the groundsmen attempting to sort out the tarpaulin covers in the face of strong gusts.