Clark stars before Essex build lead

Published: 17th September, 2019

Dan Lawrence crafted his first Specsavers County Championship century of the season to give Essex a first strong first innings lead against Surrey at Chelmsford.

Lawrence was out just before the close of the second day when he edged Morne Morkel to Scott Borthwick to end a 245-ball innings for 147 during which he hit 20 fours and a six.

At the close, Essex’s first-innings lead had reached 128 on 302 for six with Ryan ten Doeschate 78 not out.

Lawrence led the recovery after Essex slumped to 53 for three when Sir Alastair Cook was pinned on his crease by a full-pitched delivery that gave Jordan Clark his third scalp.

Essex lost Nick Browne just before lunch, bowled by one that straightened from Clark, and then saw Tom Westley depart to the first ball after the interval, lbw as he played all around one from the same bowler.

After Cook’s exit, Lawrence and Bopara initiated the fightback and put on fifty in 16 overs with a mixture of patience, strong running and some elegant strokes. Lawrence pushed Amar Virdi into the covers for the single that brought up his fifty from 88 balls.

But the stand was broken four balls after tea when Bopara got an inside edge to Morkel and showed graphically his self-disgust as the ball diverted into his stumps. Bopara’s 34 had taken 80 balls.

Essex were still only four wickets down when they went into the lead in the 60th over. Soon after, ten Doeschate’s sixth four brought up not only his own fifty – from 64 balls – but also the century partnership in 25 overs. That preceded, by an over, Lawrence reaching his century from 82 balls with 14 four and a six.

After Lawrence’s demise, Essex lost a sixth wicket when nightwatchman Jamie Porter lasted just two balls before falling lbw to Rikki Clarke.

After being confined to barracks for nearly half of the first day amid mounting frustration while leaden grey skies enveloped the ground, it was a different mood in the Essex camp as The Cloudfm County Ground was bathed in unremitting sunshine.

Surrey’s innings lasted just 70 minutes in the morning as they crashed from their overnight 137 for four to 174 all out. The final six wickets went for the addition of 22 runs in 10 overs against the remorseless accuracy of Jamie Porter and Sam Cook, who both returned five-wicket hauls.

Ben Foakes and Will Jacks had just taken their fifth-wicket stand beyond fifty when the stand-in Surrey captain received one from Cook that kept low and took out his off-stump.

Clarke followed three overs later, caught low down at second slip by Simon Harmer off Porter. Jacks drove Cook imperiously through the covers for four, but edged the next ball behind for 28.

Liam Plunkett lasted six balls before he was bowled through bat and pad by Porter, who then cleaned out Morkel in his next over. Cook completed the innings when Clark went for an unsightly heave and lost his leg stump.

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