Essex made snail-like progress on the second morning of the Specsavers County Championship match against Lancashire, adding just 58 runs in 30 overs while losing three wickets.
Jimmy Anderson and Kyle Jarvis had the batsmen pinned down in the first hour of dot ball after dot ball. Only Dan Lawrence, who came in at the fall of Varun Chopra’s wicket, showed any attacking intent before he departed just before the break for 37.
It had taken nearly 40 minutes, and the final ball of the day’s 10th over, before Essex scored their first boundary. Chopra angled Anderson wide of the slips to take the score from the overnight 39 for two to 49. Until then watchful was the watchword.
But in the space of six balls Chopra and Tom Westley threw away all the hard graft of the morning with two rash, almost identical shots. The pair faced 32 and 38 balls respectively in adding seven and three to their overnight totals.
Chopra went first, chasing a wide one from Jarvis and showing self-disgust as he departed. Next over, Westley fenced at one from Anderson that he could and should have left alone to give Alex Davies behind the stumps his fourth victim of the innings.
When they were finally rested after the first hour, Jarvis had taken two for 25 from 11 overs and Anderson two for 37 from 12.
In contrast, Lawrence’s arrival upped the scoring rate. His fourth boundary, a textbook cover drive off Ryan McLaren, took him to 17 from 18 deliveries. At the other end Ravi Bopara took 14 balls to get off the mark – a straight-driven four off Jordan Clark – and another 19 balls before his next scoring stroke, a single off McLaren.
Lawrence went in spinner Stephen Parry’s first over, going forward to a ball pitched up and turning it into Liam Livingstone’s hands at first slip. He had batted for 57 balls with six fours.